The United States men’s basketball team got off to an excellent start in preliminary-round play at the 2016 Summer Olympics, dominating China’s national squad, 119-62, at Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
After beating China by 49 and 50 points in two exhibition matches in California in late July, Team USA showed the raised stakes of Olympic play and unfamiliar confines couldn’t stop it from overwhelming its opposition.
Carmelo Anthony, who was on hand when Team USA lost to Argentina in the semifinals at the 2004 Summer Games, was intent on sending a message in the opener.
“We want to win,” Anthony said prior to the game, per USA Today‘s Sam Amick. “We want to send a message to the rest of the world that we’re here (on) business, we’re focused on winning, and that’s what we care about. We don’t want to let nothing come in between that.”
Team USA heeded Anthony’s call. Every player on the roster scored, with Kevin Durant pacing the squad with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and five rebounds.
Former NBA center Yi Jianlian led China with 25 points and tied for a team high with six rebounds. He was the lone bright spot for China on offense, as no other player cracked double digits.