NEW YORK — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored 14 points, while his NBA teammate Jeff Green didn’t play at all, and the United States sprinted past China 98-51 in a scrimmage Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Danny Granger led Team USA with 22 points, while Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook saw action off the bench.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Gordon strengthened his case for a spot on the team by scoring 15 points. Gordon, who has been considered on the bubble to make the final roster, made three of the Americans’ 11 3-pointers.
Gordon has played well in U.S. game action and supplies some of the outside shooting a perimeter-oriented team needs. He scored 16 points in the intrasquad scrimmage last month in Las Vegas.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski likely did show who two of his cuts will be, not using Green or JaVale McGee.
When asked by Fanhouse.com after the game about his status, Green said, "Ask coach. I'm not the guy to answer that question."
If McGee is cut, it would leave Tyson Chandler as the only true center on the U.S. team.
The Americans were credited with a 32-4 advantage in fast-break points.
“We're the fastest team, I think, in the world, so we've got to use that to our advantage,” Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala said.
The Americans believe they can overcome a lack of size with their speed and shooting. It worked for three quarters. The first field goal of the fourth quarter put the Americans up by 51 points.
The teams played four 10-minute quarters, with the score reset at the beginning of each period. The Americans outscored the Chinese 35-8 in the third, then lost the fourth 17-16 when Gordon was just short on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. In the fourth period, Durant played center.
Both teams will play Sunday in a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The United States faces France in its lone exhibition on home soil, with China meeting Puerto Rico in the second game.
The Americans leave Monday for three exhibition games in Europe. Their first game in Turkey is scheduled for Aug. 28.
“We just need to play,” Krzyzewski said. “I'm not saying China's a great team or anything, but they've played, and that's what they do. They play internationally. Our guys need to play these scrimmages and games to get accustomed to the international game.”