Yao Ming hit a three-pointer in the opening minute, giving China enough momentum to keep the game close in the first half. But in the end, they could not keep up, as the U.S. men's basketball team downed China, 101-70.
The Chinese fed off the home crowd’s energy, with great shooting in the first half. Guard San Yue (eight points, two assists) hit the second three-pointer with eight minutes, nine seconds to go in the first quarter to bring China to a 6-2 lead. San finished two-for-five from three-point range.
Team USA took its first lead of the game when forward LeBron James drove on Yao (13 points, 10 rebounds) and picked up a foul, giving the Americans a one-point lead with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
The Americans lost the lead for the next three minutes, but gained it back with an 11-0 run. However, the Chinese kept the game close and ended the first quarter down four.
China gave played a 3-2 zone against the Americans, giving them open shots. But the US struggled to shoot three-pointers (29 percent), allowing China to stay in the game throughout the second quarter.
The Chinese guards looked a lot better in the first half compared to their performance in previous Olympics. 19-year-old Chen Jianghua made some impressive passes at times, but was careless in committing a team-high three turnovers. He’s still very young, and will need to do a lot of maturing if he wants to have a larger role for the Chinese national team.
James led Team USA in defense with three blocks and six rebounds to go along with his 18 points. With 8:16 left in the quarter, Liu Wei went in for a lay-up but James snatched the ball on the way up and threw a deep pass to guard Dwayne Wade for an easy dunk.
Wade led the team in scoring with 19 points. He had a perfect shooting night on seven shots and five free throws, while the US did a great job defensively, holding China to 11 points.
Team USA picked up momentum with six minutes left in the second quarter, when Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh scored six points in 45 seconds. The US went on a 16-3 run before China responded in the final two minutes to keep the game within 12 going into the half.
Point guard Jason Kidd led Team USA on its run late in the second quarter. Although he is not quick or a good scorer by any means, he made some great passes and did a great job running the offense this morning. Kidd didn’t pick up any points or assists, but he created some great scoring opportunities in that stretch.
The second half was all Team USA.
The US went on another run late in the third quarter, outscoring China 16-5 in the final four minutes. China could not keep up with Team USA’s fast break and played sloppy defense in general.
China committed four fouls within the final two and a half minutes of the quarter, giving the Americans a 74-48 lead going into the fourth.
China kept the game interesting with some offensive spurts in the fourth quarter led by Chinese forward Yi Jianlian. Yi scored seven of his nine points late in the game, but the American onslaught continued.
Yao picked up his fourth foul with 4:45 left in the game, and had to cheer from the bench for the remainder of the game. The Chinese fans showed great appreciation for their team and the show Team USA put on, despite witnessing a blowout.
The Americans have their next match Tuesday against Angola.