United States’ Klay Thompson (11) shoots past France’s Charles Kahudi (8) during a men’s basketball game at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The 100-97 win over France wasn’t the score that Team USA wanted but it was still a welcome outcome as they clinched basketball’s top seed in Group A in the Rio Olympics. After concerns over a shooting slump, Klay Thompson broke out, leading the U.S. with 30 points and nailing seven-of-13 from deep. Kevin

United States’ Kevin Durant (5) works the ball around France’s Boris Diaw, left, during a men’s basketball game at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Durant added 17 points to help keep the USA alive as time ran out on France’s comeback attempt. Team USA once again let a sizable lead slip as they led 78-62 late in the third period before things got tight late in the contest.  France cut the deficit to just 85-81 with under six minutes in the last period but USA’s DeMarcus Cousins shot two baskets on two offensive

France’s Joffrey Lauvergne, left, drives around United States’ Carmelo Anthony, right, during a basketball game at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

rebounds and Carmelo Anthony nailed a huge three to keep the U.S. going until the end. The matchup between the two countries was expected to be a close one, but the U.S. might have received a gift after morning reports indicated that France’s Tony Parker would miss the contest after suffering a toe injury over the weekend. Parker’s presence may have significantly changed the outcome but the U.S. will move forward.

United States’ Kyrie Irving (10) drives to the basket past France’s Rudy Gobert (16) during a basketball game at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Team USA will receive a two-day break before returning to action on Aug. 17 as the tournament moves into the elimination rounds. The U.S. will face the fourth-place finisher from Group B which won’t be decided until the preliminary round is complete on Aug. 15. The U.S. will have a few days to tighten up issues that’s been plaguing the team for the last few games. Defensive lapses, poor communication and faulty ball movement have been taken advantage of by opponents for the last three games. Despite their critics, Team USA completed the preliminary rounds with a 5-0 record.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO