Basketball: U.S. all business in Rio opener against China

Sat Aug 6, 2016 10:41pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may fret about the United States' trade imbalance with China but on the basketball court it is all one way business, as it was again on Saturday as the U.S. opened the Olympic tournament with 119-62 thrashing.

China (0-6) has never beaten the U.S. on Olympic hardwood and there was not the faintest hint that this was going to be the evening that drought would end, even when Ding Yanyuhang scored the first points on a pair of free throws.

That was the high point for China, the last and only time they would lead, as the U.S. clinically rolled to a 59-30 halftime advantage, leaving a flat atmosphere inside the packed Carioca Arena.

Bored fans quickly resorted to entertaining themselves by doing the wave while the biggest buzz of the night was generated by a halftime show of rope jumping acrobats.

This U.S. squad may be more "B Team" than "Dream Team" with many top players, including four-time National Basketball Association most valuable player LeBron James and twice reigning MVP Stephen Curry, deciding to stay home but there has been no noticeable drop in skill or quality.

Every player on the U.S. roster got on the score sheet in the opener with four getting into double figures led by Kevin Durant with 25.

"I thought China played really hard, they have a lot of young players and they are getting better and we were good," said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We're older and more talented and we played really hard and shared the ball.

"The Olympics are different, they're big, for 10 of the guys it is their first Olympics, it's different, it's new.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Preliminary - Men's Preliminary Round Group A China v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Demarcus Cousins (USA) of USA, Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA and Li Muhao (CHN) of China (PRC) compete. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson