Paul George sits out second half of Team USA’s win over China

CHICAGO, Ill. — The USA Basketball Men’s Olympic Team cruised to another dominant win Tuesday night in Oakland, rolling past China, 107-55. It was their third (of five) exhibition game, with tune-ups in Chicago and Houston on Friday and Monday, respectively, before heading to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Kevin Durant’s debut at Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, was the story Tuesday. Durant  fired up and made the first shot of the game, of course, and went on to score the game’s first 10 points. With Warriors fans chanting “WAR-RIO-RS” multiple times throughout the game, Durant finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in just over 19 minutes.

George sat out the second half in Tuesday's win over China. (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/USAB)

George sat out the second half in Tuesday’s win over China. (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/USAB)

Meantime, Paul George came off the bench for the second time in three games and he continued to tightly defend his man and put pressure on the opponent. With so many great scorers on the team, it appears that Team USA may lean more on him largely more on the defensive end — though he will surely go off in several games at the Olympics, just as he did last week in Las Vegas.

George, however, did not play in the second half Tuesday night due to a left calf strain. By that point, USA was already up on China by 28 points and again, it was an exhibition game. It was a precautionary measure for him to remain out and he was back on the bench with teammates by the fourth quarter, seen with a smile on his face.

He tallied six points, two assists, and a rebound in less than 10 minutes of on-court time.

George, however, does have a history with calf strains and his most notable one was to that same left calf. It was a little more than a year ago, in the final minute of the final game of the 2014-15 season when George was carried off the floor in a loss at Memphis that would result in the Pacers missing out on the postseason.

An MRI revealed that it was a calf strain — to what degree is unknown — but it was not considered serious. “I just came off a screen and felt a pop,” George said then.

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After the exhibition game, USA Basketball flew to Chicago for practice and then another practice game Friday, against Venezuela at the United Center. Even before Tuesday’s game, Team USA decided to cancel practice scheduled for Wednesday. However, they will practice early Thursday afternoon.

They did not arrive in Chicago until after 5:00 a.m. local time.

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