Kevin Garnett displayed the youthful talent of the U.S. men's senior national team with a 20-point crowd-pleasing performance tonight in a 118-72 victory over Uruguay.
It was the first game of the Olympic qualifying tournament for the Americans, who toyed with the awestruck Uruguayans from the beginning and at one time led by 53 points.
Opening with a full-court, man-to-man press, the United States confounded the Uruguayans and forced 25 turnovers, 17 on steals.
"It was an honor for me to have a shot blocked by Kevin Garnett," said Uruguay's Juan Moltedo, who was 0 for 7. "It's going to be something I'll tell my grandchildren about."
Another enamored South American player asked Garnett to take a picture with him after the game.
"It was weird," said Garnett. "We were out there competing, but this is a whole different mentality."
The United States needs to finish first or second in the 10-nation tournament to earn a berth in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Gary Payton scored 20 points and assisted on several of Garnett's baskets. None pleased the crowd more than a between-the-legs, no-look bounce pass to Garnett on a fast break that ended in a resounding dunk and a 99-46 lead.
Allan Houston added 13 points and Jason Kidd had 14 assists for the Americans.
In tonight's other games, Canada defeated Cuba, 75-65; Venezuela beat Brazil, 91-68; and the Dominican Republic beat Panama, 77-73.