MANCHESTER, England — Deron Williams was in, Carmelo Anthony out, and both were better for it.
Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered what lineup the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team used against an inexperienced and overmatched opponent.
Williams and Anthony responded to a lineup change with 19 points apiece, and the Americans beat Britain 118-78 on Thursday in an exhibition.
LeBron James added 16 points and Russell Westbrook had 15 for the Americans, who built a 40-point lead early in the fourth quarter and every basket from there seemed to be a dunk.
College of Charleston star Andrew Lawrence came off the bench to score six points, to goalong with three assists and three rebounds in 16 minutes for Great Britain. Lawrence’s scoring came on 2 of 3 shooting from 3-point range.
Chicago Bulls All-Star Luol Deng scored 25 points for Britain against his former college coach at Duke.
“He said they just had never faced that speed and quickness, so you can’t practice that,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “You can’t simulate that, so I thought it was a great experience for them. And us.”
Krzyzewski inserted Kevin Durant for Anthony, and Williams for Chris Paul, and both Anthony and Williams flourished in their new roles.
Williams, who couldn’t scrimmage with the Americans when they opened camp because he hadn’t signed his $98 million extension with the Nets yet, made 7-of-8 shots, going 5 of 6 from 3-point range and adding five assists.
“I feel I adjusted pretty well,” Williams said. “I was a little worried about my conditioning, just because I hadn’t played 5-on-5, but I just trained really hard coming in so I’d just be in the best shape possible, and I feel like I’m there.”
Britain’s home game was similar to the Americans’ opener against China in the Beijing Olympics, where plays for both teams were loudly cheered. The boos were brief, when a light “USA!” chant broke out in the fourth quarter.
Basketball has little place in British sports, but with the national team returning to the Olympics this year as the games’ host, the sport got some attention with a visit from the powerful U.S. squad.
In an unusual pregame scene, the crowd didn’t seem interested in the home team’s strange set of pregame warm-up exercises, choosing instead to watch the Americans’ practice dunks, oohing and aahing along the way.
The rules of the game were then written shown on the overhead video scoreboard and explained by the public address announcer before play began.
The British, also including the Portland Trail Blazers’ Joel Freeland and coached by Houston Rockets assistant Chris Finch, hung with the Americans for 10-plus minutes before the visitors’ athleticism ran them off the floor.