Spain buckled down from a slot start and took control for the rest of the way to start their 2012 London Olympics campaign with a convincing 97-81 win over China in day one of the men’s basketball tournament.
Spain, who finished with the silver medal during the last Olympics in Beijing four years ago, had a rusty start, taking just a two-point lead against the reigning Asian champions.
However, a 7-0 run in the second period seemed to have awakened the Spanish squad as they took full control of the game, building a 12-point lead at the half.
China, who is known for their impressive outside shooting and their ability to mount huge runs, had several comeback attempts, but Spain deep and talented squad was simply too much to absorb for the Chinese squad.
Pau Gasol spearheaded the Spanish squad’s attack as he finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds to go with four assists, while naturalized player Serge Ibaka had 17 points and five boards to go with five blocks.
Veteran guard Juan Carlos Navarro was also in his usual form, wounding up with 14 points in just 18 minutes of playing time, while experienced point guard Jose Calderon racked up 12 points and did a terrific job in orchestrating their offensive attack.
On the other hand, Yi Jianlian, who is now the face of the Chinese national squad after basketball icon Yao Ming decided to hang up his sneakers, had a monster performance, tallying 30 points and 12 rebounds.
Veteran big man Wang Zhizhi, who once played in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, finished with 15 points, while Chen Jinghua ended up with 12 points and five assists.
China will try to bounce back against Russia, while Spain goes up against Australia in the second day of Group B action on Tuesday.