Kevin Durant scored 14 points and got the United States started on a dominant second-quarter stretch in a 106-78 victory over Croatia on Saturday in its opening game at the world championship.
Eric Gordon made four three-pointers and had 16 points to lead the Americans, who limited the Croatians to six points in the second quarter. Chauncey Billups finished with 12 points.
It was an impressive start for a U.S. team that came to Turkey without any players who helped them win the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. Instead of those superstars, the Americans are left with a young, undersized team that features Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, as its centerpiece.
He scored five straight points to kick off the decisive burst early in the second quarter and added eight rebounds in just 21 minutes.
All 12 players scored for the Americans, as coach Mike Krzyzewski was able to give his starters plenty of rest with the U.S. playing its three toughest Group B games in the first three days of the tournament.