The U.S men's basketball team began its tune-up for this month's World Championships in Japan by trouncing Puerto Rico, 114-69. Thursday night's exhibition match was played in Las Vegas.
The USA is aiming to regain global superiority in the game after a third place finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Americans lost to Puerto Rico at the Athens games, 92-73.
This game was close throughout the first quarter and Puerto Rico took a 32-29 lead early in the second quarter. But the USA went on a 31-3 scoring spurt bridging the second and third quarters and coasted from there to the 45-point victory. Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets led U.S. scorers with 18 points.
The Americans now travel to Ghangzhou, China, to face Houston Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming and China Monday and Brazil Tuesday. After that, team USA goes to Seoul to take on Lithuania on August 13 and host South Korea on August 15.
The 24-team World Basketball Championships begin August 19.Some information for this report was provided by AFP.