LAS VEGAS – The road to the Olympic Games in Paris began with a victory for USA Basketball.

Anthony Edwards scored 13 points, Stephen Curry added 12 and the United States opened its Paris Games schedule with an 86-72 win over Canada on Wednesday night.

Jrue Holiday scored 11 points and Anthony Davis finished with 10 for the U.S., which has four more friendlies to play before traveling to France.

RJ Barrett scored 12 points for Canada and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks each had 10.

Former President Barack Obama was at the game, as were many NBA coaches and dozens of dignitaries from the Basketball Association who came to town to celebrate the association's 50th anniversary. Among them: Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Swin Cash, Lindsay Whalen and many more.

Total attendance was 20,757, a record for any game at T-Mobile Arena, USA Basketball said.

Cold start

The USA trailed 11-1 midway through the first quarter after missing their first six shot attempts. The rest of the half: USA 40, Canada 22, and the Americans shot 18 of 28 – 64.3% – during that period. The lead was 41-33 at halftime and the Americans extended it to 69-54 by the fourth quarter.

It was easy to see where the Americans, who have only been together for less than a week, are still learning the ropes. There were at least four times when easy passes ended up in the front row of seats because someone thought there was a zigzag coming instead of a zag.

“Good first game for us,” said U.S. coach Steve Kerr. “We just started four days of practice. You could see early on how rusty we were on offense. We had a lot of turnovers in the first half. I liked the intensity of the defense and the work at the basket. It was a good first attempt to develop the way we want to play in the future.”

Second unit

The USA's second unit – Bam Adebayo, Tyrese Haliburton, Jayson Tatum, Davis and Edwards – was particularly impressive. Each of these five players had a plus-minus record of plus-10 or better, meaning the USA scored at least 10 more points than Canada with them on the court.

And so it is. Only the Americans can field a number of “reserves” at the Olympics who are all All-Stars. This five-man team has a total of 21 All-Star nominations, two NBA champions in Davis and Tatum, and two perennial All-Defense players in Davis and Adebayo. It's clearly not a typical second unit.

“They were great,” Kerr said of the second unit. “The slow start was not surprising. I loved the second group and the defense that pushed the tempo for us in transition. They made some plays on defense that got our offense going and got us in the game.”

Oh, and don't forget: Kevin Durant (calf strain) and Derrick White (not yet in the team) were unavailable for the USA on Wednesday.

For starters

The first starting lineup of the summer was put together by Kerr: Devin Booker, LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Curry and Holiday.

That could certainly change in the future, but if the last year is any indicator, it's a clear insight into Kerr's current mindset.

Kerr has warned in the past against reading too much into lineups, especially after the first practice game. However, the first five players he named in the first pre-World Cup friendly last summer – Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Ingram and Edwards – were also the starters in the tournament opener against New Zealand.


The USA will play against Australia on Monday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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