There was no scare for Dream Team II this time.
One night after trailing unheralded Spain late in the first half before winning by 15 points, the U.S. national team bombed China 132-77 Friday night for its second victory in the World Championship of Basketball.After being criticized for poor defense and sloppy play in its first game, Dream Team II invited one favorable comparison of the original Dream Team of two years ago. Friday night's 132 points surpassed the Dream Team I high of 127 against Brazil and Lithuania in the 1992 Olympics.
The American team of NBA all-stars led 19-6 51/2 minutes into the game, but the Chinese stayed close to that margin for the next 10 minutes, trailing 47-33 with four minutes left.
In the last 3:50 of the period, Dream Team II put on an awesome display of offense and defense, outscoring China 26-5 for a 71-38 halftime lead. The Americans especially put on a show in the final 1:19, scoring 16 points - six by Joe Dumars and five each by Reggie Miller and Alonzo Mourning - and forcing four of China's 21 first-half turnovers.
Mourning, who fouled out in nine minutes against Spain, came back with 13 points Friday night, 11 in the first half.
Seven Americans scored in double figures and 10 had eight or more points. Shaquille O'Neal had 16 of his 22 points in the second half, including two free throws that gave the United States a 99-56 lead with 10 minutes left.
Dominique Wilkins and Miller had 15 points each, Dumars 13, Kevin Johnson 10 and Shawn Kemp 10 for Dream Team II, whose largest lead was 132-75 in the final minute.
The United States plays its final Pool A game Sunday against Brazil, which lost to China in overtime Thursday night. Two pools of four teams each will be set up for a round-robin quarterfinal playoff round, with two teams from each of those pools advancing to the final four,
Liu Yudong scored 16 points and Sun Jun 13 for China, which still could advance to the quarterfinal round with a victory over Spain.
In the other Pool A game, Brazil and Spain played Friday night.
In Pool B, Croatia and Australia clinched quarterfinal berths, Croatia with a 104-53 thrashing of South Korea and Australia with a 93-87 victory over Cuba. Toni Kukoc had 12 points for Croatia.
In Pool C, Russia cruised past Angola 94-57 to remain unbeaten. In Pool D, Germany beat Puerto Rico, 81-74. Greece remained unbeaten with a 69-53 victory over Egypt.