Olympics: James scores 20 in debut
By Brian Mahoney
MACAU ó Any team with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in the lineup is going to score.
Sure enough, the United States had no problem doing so in the first quarter Thursday ó but neither did Turkey. The Americans didnít pull away until their offensive superstars decided to be defensive stoppers.
James had 20 points and was a defensive force in his exhibition debut, helping the U.S. Olympic team overcome some sloppy play to beat Turkey 114-82 in its first game in China.
James and Bryant both finished with five steals, leading a defensive effort that included 16 of them.
iWe love defense as a team because we have a lot of guys who can get at it defensively, cause some havoc and make a lot of plays,î guard Dwyane Wade said.
James made them on both ends of the floor. He was 8-for-9 from the field and finished with six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 23 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter.
iHe passed the ball well, played great defense, ran the lanes,î center Dwight Howard said. iHe played like LeBron James.î
Bryant was only 1-for-5 for seven points, but he had seven assists with his five steals. He wasnít the dominant player on the floor this time.
iThe best was LeBron James, who made a big difference,î Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic said.
Chris Paul had 12 points and six assists. Carmelo Anthony had 17 points.