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The United States basketball team warmed up for their title defence by winning hearts and minds, as well as a warm-up game against the Great Britain team.

After an unconvincing victory against Brazil in their last outing, the Americans were at their clinical best as they ran out 118-78 victors against the Olympic hosts.

Deron Williams who, along with team-mate Carmelo Anthony, top scored for the USA with 19 points, said the side are starting to find their “rhythm and chemistry”.

“We’ve only been together a certain amount of time,” he said. “If we don’t come to play, if we’re not ready, we can be beat, Spain is one of them, Brazil is one of them, Argentina are one of them and we’re playing all three teams in warm-up games so hopefully that will help us.

“We realise we have some flaws in our game and we have to sew them up. I thought it was a great game for us.”

The gulf in class showed how far Team GB have to go, although Luol Deng scored 25 points.

But coach Chris Finch, unhappy with his team’s second-half collapse, does not think the US are guaranteed gold. “Of course they can be beaten,” he said.

“They’re the best team in the tournament, no doubt, but there are a lot of teams could beat them on any given day.”


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