In front of a festive, if not huge crowd, the same team that nearly beat the USA on Friday night were in total command of their encounter against last year’s FIBA Asia Championship winners early in the second quarter and rolled to a 94-60 victory.
Serbia won for the first time since opening day while China, for the second consecutive Olympics, finished without a win.
Turning Point: Yi Jianlian completed a three-point play with 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter, leaving enough time for Serbia’s Nemanja Nedovic to race down the court and bury a three-pointer. Serbia then reeled off the first nine points of the second quarter for a 33-18 lead.
Stats Don’t Lie: Milos Teodosic played only 15 minutes tonight. Serbia didn’t need him much more than that because they quickly took control of the game.
Hero: Nikola Kalinic, who was active in the run that put Serbia in command and also managed to get head coach Sasha Djordjevic to laugh when he missed a reverse dunk. Kalinic followed up his miss and scored to make amends before laughing himself.
Bottom Line: Serbia are one of the best teams in international basketball, a side that reached the Final of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will now sit back and watch events unfold in Group B on Monday to see which side they will go up against in the Last Eight. For China, their youngsters got good experience this summer at the Olympics but only came close to winning once, and that was against Venezuela.