In the first quarter, things started quickly for China as Yao Ming broke the scoring open with a three from the top of the key. Ming also set the tone on the defensive end with a emphatic block on Kobe Bryant which prompted an easy fast break opportunity for the Chinese. And with the reassuring presence of Yao in the middle, Team China played the entire first quarter with a certain level of confidence as it concluded, 20-16, in favor of the Americans.
In the second ten minute period, Team China’s confidence continued as they hit their fifth of seven early three-point attempts. On the defensive end, LeBron James was making his impact felt with transitions blocks. After pinning a Chinese lay-up attempt from the right side in the first quarter, James simply jumped up and caught a left-handed attempt and proceeded to outlet the ball to a streaking Dwayne Wade for an easy slam. However, Team China was efficient in their half court sets by working the ball inside to Yao Ming with their guards relocating and spotting up for open perimeter looks. Conversely, the USA looked sloppy in the half court game, but was able to open a, 49-37, lead by halftime with a relentless barrage of transition points; many coming by way of highlight quality dunks.
In the second half it was all about defense for the “Redeem Team”. The third quarter saw the USA hold China to a mere eleven points as they cranked up their offensive barrage to lead by 26 points going into the fourth quarter. And when the USA can open up such a large margin they can simply demolish a team within a blink of an eye. With the majority of the USA’s starting five on the bench for the fourth quarter the lead would eventually balloon to over 30 points as Team China graciously conceded to a, 101-70, defeat.
The “Redeem Team” was led by four players in double-figure scoring. Dwayne Wade led all scorers with 19 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field and 5-5 from the free-throw line, LeBron James added 18 points, a game-high three blocks, and six rebounds, and both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard finished with 13 points, respectively. Team China was led by Yao Ming’s 13 points, two blocks, and a game-high nine rebounds.
Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony fans alike didn’t miss much as ‘Melo scored just three points, all by way of free-throws, while committing three fouls and just as many turnovers.