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07/17/24 02:04:00

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07/17 14:02 CDT Stephen Curry strong in US men's basketball team's 105-79 win over Serbia in Olympic warmup Stephen Curry strong in US men's basketball team's 105-79 win over Serbia in Olympic warmup By KYLE HIGHTOWER AP Sports Writer Stephen Curry was relatively quiet offensively during the U.S. Olympic team's first two exhibitions before the Paris Games. He got a lot more assertive on Wednesday with his official Olympic debut less than two weeks away. Curry scored 24 points, Bam Adebayo added 17 and the U.S. beat Serbia 105-79 to improve to 3-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions in advance of the Paris Olympics. Anthony Davis finished with seven points, six rebounds and six blocks, helping to lead a U.S. defensive effort that limited Serbia throughout. Anthony Edwards had 16 points. LeBron James added 11. Curry scored the first nine points for the U.S. in a flurry that James said was by design. "We drew it up for that particular reason, to get him going," James said. "He sees one go through the hoop, you see what it opens up for the rest of his game, for the rest of the game for all of us. He set the tone." The U.S. led by as many as 31 points in the last of a pair of warmup games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Americans go to London to play two more tuneups before heading to France. The first is Saturday against South Sudan, followed by a matchup with Germany on Monday at London's O2 Arena. U.S. coach Steve Kerr likes the progress his team has made and said its ability to overwhelm teams with different defensive looks will be vital. "I think the identity of the team is our depth, the strength of the team is the depth," Kerr said. "If we can play in 4- or 5-minute bursts of intense defense, hitting bodies, rebounding, being physical, then it makes sense to play that way. We'll see if we can keep doing it." The U.S. had an uneven start before using a 16-2 run in the second quarter to take a 56-42 advantage and led 59-45 at halftime. Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Serbia. Aleksa Avramovic added 14 points. Serbia was playing its second game in two days, coming off a loss to Australia on Tuesday in which it rested captain Bogdan Bogdanovic. Though Serbia was without Bogdanovic for the second straight game, it struggled offensively, shooting just 41% (29 of 71). The U.S. also held a 30-21 rebounding edge. Adebayo and Davis combined for 14 rebounds. "Bam and AD together are really something," Kerr said. "Just the switching, but they can also protect the rim and be in a drop if we go to that coverage." Wednesday's matchup was an important preview for the Serbians and U.S., which will both compete in Group C at the Olympics. They open their quests for gold against each other on July 28.

FINISHING STRONG After nearly squandering a big lead in its narrow victory over Australia on Monday, there was no such letdown for the U.S. this time. The Americans led by 25 after three quarters and quickly increased it to 30 in the final quarter.

LINEUP SHUFFLE The U.S. used its third different starting lineup, going with Curry, Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum, LeBron James and Joel Embiid. The only constants over the three exhibitions have been Curry, James and Embiid. One of the reason's Embiid's presence on the roster was a desire for the U.S. coaching staff this cycle was to counter bigger teams like Serbia, which features a trio of 7-footers. Embiid's conditioning still isn't at its peak. But he was active on both ends, finding cutters on the offensive end and being an active deterrent in the lane on defense.

ENERGY SHIFTERS For the second straight game, the U.S. reserves provided a spark. Edwards, Davis, Tyrese Haliburton, Bam Adebayo and Devin Booker entered the game for the first time with 4:54 remaining in the opening quarter and trailing 16-13. The U.S. proceeded to outscore the Serbians 15-12 the rest of the period to tie the game at 28 entering the second quarter. The American reserves accounted for 28 points off the bench in the first half.

STILL NO DURANT Kevin Durant sat for the third straight game as he continues to recover from the calf strain he suffered early during training camp. But guard Derrick White made his debut after joining the team over the weekend as Kawhi Leonard's replacement. White had four rebounds and an assist in just over nine minutes. ___ AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games
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