Team USA’s road to the Olympics begins with exhibition win over Canada

July 11, 2024
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In their first tune-up game for the Paris Olympics, the United States men’s basketball team took care of business with an 86-72 win over Canada on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

Former President Obama was in the building along with many other NBA coaches and high-ranking USA basketball officials for the governing body’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis led Team USA in scoring, while first-time Olympian Steph Curry dropped 12 points and shot 3-of-6 from the 3-point line.

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Steph Curry acknowledges crowd

Stephen Curry, #4 of the USA Basketball men’s team, celebrates after the game against Canada on July 10, 2024 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

“We just want to win gold, whatever that takes,” Curry said in a postgame interview. “We always talk about – It don’t matter what your stats are, it don’t matter how many minutes you play, as long as everybody on the floor commits to doing what you’re asked to do, we’ll be good.”

This was the first of five exhibition games Team USA will play before the Olympic Games begin on July 26. 

KAWHI LEONARD WITHDRAWS FROM USA BASKETBALL OLYMPIC TEAM

LeBron James plays defense

LeBron James, #6, plays defense during the game against Canada in the first of five exhibition games ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Things started out slow for Team USA. They found themselves with an early 10-point deficit in the first quarter as they struggled to find rhythm after only having four days together before the game.

Propelled by a 14-2 run in the second quarter, the U.S. took a 41-33 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“Good first game for us, really getting started after four days of practice,” head coach Steve Kerr said, via USA Basketball. “You could see the rust from the offensive end, a lot of turnovers in that first half especially, but I love the defensive intensity and the work on the glass. So, it was a good first effort.”

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Tyrese Haliburton dribbles ball

Canada’s Andrew Nembhard, center, plays defense during an exhibition game against Team USA on July 10, 2024. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

This Canada team is the first ever non-U.S. Olympic team to feature 10 active NBA players on its roster. RJ Barrett of the Toronto Raptors led Canada in scoring with 12 points, while Dillon Brooks and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander each contributed 10 points.

Wednesday’s game will be the only exhibition game Team USA plays on domestic soil. Their next game is in Abu Dhabi, where they will take on Australia next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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