July 29, 2012: U.S. forward Carmelo Anthony, second from left, reacts after shooting while being challenged by French forward Boris Diaw, right, next to French guard Tony Parker, right, during the men's basketball preliminary round group A match between the United States and France at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on Sunday, in London.AP
Carmelo Anthony and his fellow NBA Olympians slammed France, winning triumphantly 98-71 in the Olympics game on Sunday in London.
Once Kevin Durant and Co. got going in the second quarter, it was all over.
Even at less than its spectacular best, the U.S. men's basketball team is quite a force.
Durant scored 22 points, LeBron James had a solid all-around game and the United States opened tournament play with a 98-71 win over France.
Seeking a second straight gold medal to match the one they won in Beijing four years ago, the Americans got off to a slow start and held a slim 22-21 lead after one quarter.
But James opened the second with a 3 and the U.S. quickly went on an 11-0 run. Overcoming some major foul issues and sloppy play, the superstar-laden squad finally put France away in the second half.
"It wasn't perfect," said James, who had nine points, eight assists and five rebounds. "We've still got room for improvement."
With first lady Michelle Obama on hand to cheer on the U.S., Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler added nine rebounds apiece.
Tony Parker, playing with goggles to protect a surgically repaired left eye, scored 10 points for France. When asked if the Americans can be beat, the San Antonio Spurs guard took a contemplative pause before responding.
"They're going to be very, very tough to beat," Parker said.
Fresh off his win in the 400-meter individual medley Saturday night, Ryan Lochte returned to the pool and posted the second-fastest qualifying time for the 200 freestyle.
"I didn't get to bed until like 2 a.m. so I'm a little tired, but it was a prelims swim, so I'm not too worried about it," said Lochte, who was out celebrating with his family.
Sun Yang of China, who won the 400 free on the first night, was fastest in 1 minute, 46.24 seconds. Yannick Agnel of France was third at 1:46.60.
Missy Franklin, the 17-year-old American competing in her first Olympics, was second-quickest in qualifying for the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.37. She is set to swim seven events in London.
Defending Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington squeezed into the 400 freestyle final in the eighth and last spot. Carrying the hopes of the host country, Adlington was timed in 4:05.75.
"It felt faster than that but you just don't know being in the first heat," she said. "I had no option, I just had to go for it."
Americans Matt Grevers (100 backstroke) and Rebecca Soni (100 breaststroke) also advanced to Sunday night's finals.
The U.S. women's gymnastics team had the top score in its qualifying session, but the big story was world champion Jordyn Wieber.
Wieber, a heavy favorite, is out of the all-around competition after finishing behind teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Countries are limited to two gymnasts in the all-around and event finals.
"I was really surprised, and I feel awful because she wanted it so bad," said Raisman, Wieber's closest friend on the team and the one who knocked her out of the all-around. "But she should still feel proud because she's an Olympian. We have to stay calm and focused on team finals."
The 17-year-old Wieber was sobbing as she made her way past reporters, so distraught she couldn't speak to them. A quote attributed to her and distributed by the London Games' internal news agency said: "It is a bit of a disappointment. It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics."
The Americans finished with 181.863 points, more than 11 ahead of second-place Britain. But Russia, the 2010 world champion, European champion Romania and China were still to come.
Paula Radcliffe's Olympic hopes are over after a foot injury forced one of the greatest female distance runners to withdraw from the London Games.
The 38-year-old Briton holds the marathon world record but has failed to medal in four previous games. She won't even make it to the starting line in London. A lingering left foot injury flared up during training the past month.
"I have been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself," Radcliffe said in a statement. "As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don't want to be there below my best."
Kimberly Rhode put on a show at the Royal Artillery Barracks, winning the gold medal in women's skeet shooting to become the first American to take an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics.
Rhode tied the world record and set an Olympic mark with 99 points. She also set an Olympic record in qualifying, missing only one of her 75 shots.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.