LeBron leads Team USA past China with 22 points
GUANGZHOU, China -- With Yao Ming out with an injured left foot, China never had a chance against the powerful United States.
"We are always going to be ready to play. The guys are bringing a lot of energy off the bench," said James, who thrilled the capacity crowd in the southern Chinese city with several dunks on the fast break. "We are producing on the court and taking care of business. We just had our stuff."
Monday's victory was the second consecutive drubbing of an opponent by the United States, coming on top of last week's 45-point victory against Puerto Rico.
"I was happy in that we played very hard every second and we played unselfishly, and as long as we do those two things, we will continue to improve," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
China held the U.S. lead to five points after the first quarter, but the margin increased to 23 at halftime and 40 after three quarters.
"We are one of the best teams," James said.
China didn't even have its best players.
Besides Yao, NBA veteran Wang Zhizhi sat out with a torn ligament in his right knee. The other Chinese players struggled against the physically superior Americans. Yi Jianlian, a 6-foot-10 center considered China's next NBA prospect, had 14 points, while Du Feng led the scoring for China with 18.
The U.S. defense repeatedly stole the ball, and the Chinese were slipping and falling as they attempted to keep up with their faster opponents.
"Today we played against one of the best, maybe the best team in the world," said China's Lithuanian-born coach, Jonas Kazlauskas. "It was really difficult for us, especially for those young boys on the court."
Brad Miller was 5-for-5, including 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point line for the Americans, who are preparing for the world championships in Japan starting Aug. 19.
It's the second straight blowout between the teams. At the 2002 World Championships, the U.S. beat China 84-65 in Yao's first official national team appearance.
The U.S. plays Brazil in Guangzhou on Tuesday before flying to South Korea, while China travels to the eastern city of Nanjing for more exhibition games. Yao and possibly Wang are expected to play in those games.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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