American players paused from their warmups to stand and face their New Zealand opponents as they performed the haka, their traditional war dance challenge.
The US response wasn’t nearly as interesting. Just pound the ball inside and outmuscle an overmatched opponent.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds, Kenneth Faried added 15 and 11 boards, and the Americans remained unbeaten at the Basketball World Cup by beating winless New Zealand, 98-71, on Tuesday in Bilbao, Spain.
James Harden scored 13 points for the Americans, who won their 57th straight game and will play two more games in Bilbao before moving on to Barcelona for the round of 16. They face the Dominican Republic on Wednesday before wrapping up Group C play on Thursday against Ukraine.
‘‘It was a good, solid performance,’’ coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ‘‘I thought the intensity was excellent.’’
BJ Anthony scored 11 points for New Zealand (0-3).
‘‘It was pretty awesome getting to play against these guys. These are guys that we watch on TV all the time,’’ veteran forward Casey Frank said. ‘‘To be able to get out there on the court against them and have a little bit of success offensively, obviously the result didn’t go our way, was pretty awesome.’’
There was no shortage of energy from Faried, the Denver Nuggets forward who seems intent on raising his profile as a largely overlooked player in the league.
Faried came into the game shooting 14 of 17 in the tournament and then made all five shots in the first half while also grabbing six rebounds. He finished 7 of 9 from the field and is shooting 81 percent. Krzyzewski calls him the Americans’ ‘‘biggest and best surprise.’’
‘‘I’m just playing out there,’’ Faried said. ‘‘I’m just having fun. I’m just playing my game, having fun, enjoying life.’’
It was 27-20 after one quarter and the Americans were ahead by 9 in the second before a 12-0 run made it 50-29 with 4:14 left. The Americans got into transition during that flurry, but were often content in the first half to dump it inside, taking advantage of Davis and Faried’s muscle in the middle.
Ukraine 64, Turkey 58 — Olexandr Mishula netted 19 points off the bench, which outscored the starters, 40-24, as Ukraine took over second place in Group C with a win in Bilbao.
Dominican Republic 74, Finland 68 — Eloy Vargas’s 18 points and 13 rebounds helped the Dominican Republic earn its second win in Bilbao in Group C play. Petteri Koponen had 23 points and nine assists for Finland.
Slovenia 89, South Korea 72 — Goran Dragic led all five starters in double figures with 22 points as Slovenia remained undefeated in Group D with a win over winless South Korea in Las Palmas.
Australia 82, Lithuania 75 — Australia jumped out to a 47-28 lead at the half and held off a spirited charge to defeat Lithuania in a Group D contest in Las Palmas.
Mexico 79, Angola 55 — Hector Hernandez had 24 points, Gustavo Ayon added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Mexico earned its first win in Group D play with a rout in Las Palmas.