A rejuvenated US men's basketball team rocked China with 22 slam dunks in the opening game on Sunday, but coach Mike Krzyzewski denied his players are "showing off" at the Beijing Games.
The US players were treated like rock stars at the packed 18,000-seat Wukesong Indoor Stadium, beating the host country 101-70 with thunderous fast breaks and dazzling passes in a game that some estimated would be watched by more than a billion people around the world.
Krzyzewski, or "Coach K", said his team's trip to China is all business, and his players have no intention of treating their games like carefree all-star games.
"There is no showing off," Krzyzewski said. "I wouldn't know how many dunks they made but you go up against a guy like Yao Ming you have to dunk, otherwise you'll get your shot blocked.
"All these teams have several seven-footers, so we have to play hard and take it to the basket. If you don't go in hard, you're not going to score."
Despite boasting NBA stars Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, China had a hard time containing the Americans, who constantly attacked the basket and turned the game into something of a slam-dunk contest.
New Los Angeles Laker Sun Yue was dunked on six times. Even Uath Jazz point guard Deron Williams, not known as a dunker, tried dunking over Yao - twice. Both times Yao was called for a foul, though.
The high-flying action brought the fans to ecstasy. Even Chinese players felt good after the blowout. Forward Zhu Fangyu said he was glad to have endured such a challenging test in the first game.
"I don't think they dunk to show off," Zhu said. "When I watch the NBA I always focus on players in my position, such as LeBron (James) and Kobe (Byrant). I'm satisfied with my defense against them. This game is also a chance for me to examine myself to see the gap between NBA stars and me."
The US team, dubbed the "Redeem Team" to reflect its efforts to recapture gold for its country, has not lost a game all year, running to victories over Canada, Lithuania, Russia, Australia and China in the past month.
Source: China Daily