Dwyane Wade of the United States jumps to shoot during the match US vs Spain in men's preliminary round group B of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Basketball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 16, 2008. The US beat Spain 119-82. [Li Jundong/ Xinhua]
The United States delivered a strong message to the medal-contenders as they thrashed Spain 119-82 Saturday in a possible final of the men's basketball tournament at the Beijing Olympic Games.
The U.S., which was excluded from the top-podium finish in the past two World Championships and one Olympics, ran a perfect 4-0 record in the preliminary round and held the only loss to the world champions Spain.
They also beat world runners-up Greece 92-69, averaging a 28-point winning margin after four games.
LeBron James led eight Americans to score in double-digit numbers by 18 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals. Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony added 16 points each.
The United States had 16 steals and averaged 14.5 per game, one of the key methods to their victories.
Felipe Reyes had 19 points and eight rebounds while Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers had 13 points and six rebounds for Spain.
China entered the quarter-finals for the second consecutive time at the Olympics with a 59-55 win over Germany to set the local fans into ecstasy.
China secured at least the fourth placings in Group B behind the United States, Spain and Greece, which trounced Angola 102-61.
Yao Ming scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Yi Jianlian added nine points and 11 rebounds, including a crucial jumper with 28.1 seconds to go to put China ahead by 58-55.
Dirk Nowitzki had a great game of 24 points and 17 rebounds, but he missed a potential tying 3-pointer 18.8 seconds to go and lost the ball on the following possession to give up the final chance for Germany.
Germany had a strong rally of 14-2 in five minutes to cut the lead to 56-55 with 1:55 minutes to go but their efforts fell short as they missed two 3-pointers attempts to tie the game.
Australia snatched down a 95-80 win over Russia to advance into the next round when the European champions were saw off from the tournament with a 1-3 record.
Andrew Bogut had 22 points and eight rebounds while C.J. Burton adding 22 points, six assists and four rebounds for Australia, which will meet group leaders Lithuania in the final game in the preliminary round.
Viktor Khryapa led Russia with 21 points and nine rebounds while John-Robert Holden chipped in 20 points, six assists and four rebounds. Andrey Krilenko shot 1-out-of-10 in the field to finish with six points.
Lithuania pocketed the fourth consecutive win to secure their leading position in Group A, nailing down a 86-73 win over Croatia.
Linas Kleiza went perfect by 4-out-of-4 from behind the arc to score 12 out of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, initiating a 22-3 run to claim the victory for Lithuania.
Trailing by 62-58 at the end of the third period, Kleiza cracked down Croatia's mentality with a pair of on-the-face three-pointers when Lithuania went on for 11 un-answered points.
Mindaugas Lukauskis led Lithuania by 20 points while Roko-Leni Ukic had 13 points for Croatia (2-2).
Argentina had their third win and stayed second in Group A after beating Iran 97-82.
Dwight Howard of the United States gestures during the match US vs Spain in men's preliminary round group B of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Basketball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 16, 2008. The US beat Spain 119-82.[Li Jundong/Xinhua]