Playing in front of almost 17,000 fans that trouped to Manchester, USA dominated the home team as they cruised to a 118-78 win over Great Britain in an exhibition match on Thursday night in Manchester.
Taking on the starting point guard role, Deron Williams responded to the task as he finished with 19 points and five assists, while Carmelo Anthony, who came off the bench this time, also chipped 19 points – showing how comfortable they were with their new roles.
“I feel I adjusted pretty well,” said Williams, who replaced Chris Paul in the starting lineup. “I was a little worried about how my conditioning was going to be, but I just trained really hard coming in so I’d just be in the best shape possible, and I feel like I’m there.”
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James also had another productive night, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds to go with four assists, while Russell Westbrook finished with 15 points and nine assists.
Kevin Durant struggled from the field, but managed to finish with 13 points, while this year’s NBA first-overall pick finished with 11 points to go with four blocks and shot 5-for-7 from the field for USA.
Despite scoring a blowout win, head coach Mike Krzyzewski offered praises to the British men’s squad as well as the tremendous atmosphere inside the MEN Arena in Manchester.
“What a great atmosphere,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought the Great Britain team played really well. Luol Deng is one of the better players in the world. I like their toughness. We’re much quicker than they are and it produced a lot of turnovers, and we were very unselfish tonight.”
NBA all-star Luol Deng led Great Britain with 25 points to go with four rebounds and four assists, while Pops Mensah-Bonsu added 12 points and nine rebounds.
“It was good, we played against the best team and for some of the guys, it was the best competition they have played against,” Deng said. “But for 40 minutes, it’s very hard to keep focused, physically you have to be in top shape and you have to be alert, it was good for the players to have that tonight.”
The Americans will next face Argentina and Spain before the start of the 2012 London Olympics.