LONDON – With NBA standout Yi Jianlian struggling with a knee injury and tightly guarded defensively, China proved no match for Brazil on Saturday, remaining winless at the Olympics with a 98-59 defeat.
Marquinhos Veira Sousa scored a game-high 14 points to spark the South Americans while Leandrinho Barbosa and Guilherme Giovannoni each had 13 points and Anderson Varejao grabbed 13 rebounds as Brazil won the rebound fight 49-25.
“His injury has affected our teamwork,” China’s Wang Shipeng said. “It feels like no one can lead us during the games. The coach wanted Yi to get more rest. Yi still wanted to play in this game.”
Yi played 30 minutes and scored five points while grabbing six rebounds, taking the brunt of the punishment from Brazil’s defence.
“He’s a great player, tall and a good shooter,” Brazil’s Tiago Splitter said. “We tried not to give him space. We played more aggressive. That was the key.”
Brazil dominated from the start, opening a 25-9 lead after the opening quarter, stretching it to 42-21 at half-time and a game-high 70-38 after three quarters.
“They stretched the lead when we started to wear down and couldn’t keep up with the pace of the game,” said Zhu Fangyu, who led China with 13 points.
Brazil booked a berth in the medal playoffs.
“They hit us with a pretty good game,” China coach Bob Donewald said. “We struggled wih adversity. I don’t think we competed when things didn’t go our way and that made the score worse than we wanted it to be.”