With help from some of Southern California's most well-known athletes, the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team opened tournament play Sunday with a 98-71 win over France.
In 12 minutes of action Olympic veteran and longtime Laker Kobe Bryant put up 10 points, while Clipper Chris Paul contributed five points and two assists.
Leuzinger High School graduate Russell Westbrook added nine points of his own.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant led all scorers with 22 points.
Recently, Bryant said that this year’s team could beat the storied 1992 Dream Team, a squad that won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points.
The first part of Sunday's game did not appear to support Bryant’s argument.
In the first quarter Team USA struggled, missing their first six shots from three-point range.
With only a one point lead after a quarter of play, Bryant and company started putting things together.
A 30 point second quarter helped give Team USA a substantial lead that they would not relinquish.
France, which has a roster full of NBA talent, was considered to be the U.S. men’s biggest competition in group play.
Future Clipper Ronny Turiaf contributed seven points and nine rebounds for the French side.
Team USA’s next opponent will be Tunisia, which lost 60-56 to Nigeria in the tournament opener. They will play each other Tuesday.