Spain men beat China 97-81 in Olympic basketball

Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Spain to a 97-81

victory over China Sunday in the Olympic men’s basketball opener

for both teams Sunday.

Spain got off to a slow start and held just a two-point lead at

the end of the first quarter, 19-17. However, they went on a 7-0

run in the second quarter to give themselves a cushion and were

never seriously challenged the rest of the game.

Spain was silver medalist at the Beijing Games four years ago

and is the two-time European champion. They are expected to

challenge for a gold medal here with their imposing front line of

the 7-foot Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), his 7-1 brother Marc

(Memphis Grizzlies) and 6-10 Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) –

who finished with 17 points.

Yi Jianlian of the Washington Wizards had a double-double for

China, scoring a game-high 30 points and pulling down 12

rebounds.

But China had no answer to the depth of Spain, which had four

players score in double digits – Juan Carlos Navarro had scored 14

points and Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors) added 12.