BEIJING — That killed the buzz.
The U.S. destroyed any illusions Spain might have had about being a close second favorite in the men's basketball competition at the Beijing Olympics with a 119-82 Pool B victory over the defending World Champions at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on Saturday.
USA forward LeBron James scored nine of the Americans' first 16 points, while the U.S. forced Spain into boo-boo after boo-boo and beat Spain to the other end to score.
Spain got tied up several times in the U.S. trap in the game's first minutes and turned the ball over nine times in the first period.
The U.S. (4-0) led 61-45 at the half and 72-48 after three minutes in the third. The 37-point margin of victory was the Americans' largest of this tournament and it came against the team considered most capable of beating the them.
James led the U.S. assault with 18 points. Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade added 16, Chris Paul 14, and Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant 11.
Felipe Reyes scored 19 points for Spain and Bryant's Los Angeles Laker teammate Pau Gasol scored 13.
Spain (3-1), which is now 0-9 in Olympic play against the U.S., must regroup and figure out how it will put up a bigger fight if the two teams meet again.
The Americans took a leap forward by embarrassing the Greeks on Thursday and the Spaniards on Saturday.
Favored before, you have to wonder who has the firepower and athleticism to beat them.
The U.S. will cruise into the quarterfinals regardless of what happens on Monday against Germany. Germany, which lost to China on Saturday, has to win to advance to the quarterfinals.
The top eight teams in the tournament advance to the one-and-done round, which begins Wednesday.