Preview: US hoops team takes Chicago

Bulls guard Jimmy Butler and Team USA take on Venezuela in exhibition play.

Well, at least Venezuela is better than China. We think.

But better or not, Venezuela is the U.S. Olympic basketball team’s latest tuneup, with tipoff scheduled for 9 p.m. EST on NBA TV.

The U.S. has won all three exhibition games, including two straight over China, by a combined 99 points.

Here are some other things to know about the United States vs. Venezuela:

LOCATION

United Center, Chicago.

LINEUPS

USA: Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry, Harrison Barnes, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony.

Venezuela: Gregory Echenique, Dwight Lewis-Padron, Miguel Marriaga, Gregory Vargas, John Cox, David Cubillán, José Vargas, Luis Bethelmy, Miguel Ruiz, Windi Graterol, Heissler Guillent, Greivis Vásquez, Anthony Pêrez, Néstor Colmenares.

NEWS & NOTES

Kevin Durant leads the U.S. in scoring through three exhibitions, with an average of 18.3 points. DeMarcus Cousins is next at 15.7 points, to go with a team-best 11.0 rebounds.

Carmelo Anthony needs just 34 points to become Team USA’s all-time scoring leader. He is averaging 14.0 points in exhibition play and is 10-of-22 on 3-pointers.

Jimmy Butler and 5-foot-11 Venezuelan guard David Cubillan were teammates for two seasons (2008-10) at Marquette.

— The U.S. and Venezuela have never met in the Olympics. That changes Aug. 8 in the preliminary round in Rio de Janeiro.

QUOTES

Draymond Green on the original Dream Team: “I was 2 years old when the Dream Team won the gold medal. But I know all about that team and what they did for the country and for the game of basketball.”

Jimmy Butler on the Olympic experience: “I never expected to play for a gold medal being from Tomball, Texas. Moving forward, that’s my goal. That’s what every one of the guys on this roster wants. We’re fighting for that.”

Kyrie Irving on Coach Mike Krzyzewski: “He allowed me to grow into my own space, allowing me to be an individual, never trying to change me. But he also helped me learn and grow as a man, even more importantly than as a player. He’s been in my corner, no matter what, since he started recruiting me in high school.”

WHAT’S NEXT

The Americans head to Houston, where they will train until Tuesday. They face Nigeria in the final exhibition Monday.

Amico Hoops Olympics Hoops Site