LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Yi Jianlian scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his first match of the London Olympic Games but China still lost 97-81 to European champions Spain here on Sunday.
It was the first Olympic match Yi played without perennial teammate Yao Ming, who retired last year. As the new leader of the Chinese national team, Yi put out the best.
"I tried to give everything I have as the team leader," Yi said. "I didn't care much about my performances. I cared about the whole team and the outcome. I didn't play well in the first quarter as I fell into foul trouble. But we kept on and cut the lead as much as we could until the last quarter. Spain is a good team, maybe the best in the world."
The first half was quite a balanced period as the lead was exchanged 10 times and the scoreline was tied four times. Spain bettered off during the last minutes to take a 53-42 lead.
China kept themselves in the game in a tough third quarter when Spain's lead was cut to nine points, and China carried on to close it on 69-62 at the start of the last quarter.
A 9-0 run put the game beyond touch for the Chinese after Serge Ibaka's apparent travelling was not called.
"The refs were good. Maybe they missed the travel, but it happened in the basketball game. It's not the reason," China's guard Wang Shipeng said. "We lost because we were really tired in the fourth quarter. Spain's bench depth is so deep that we faced a whole bunch of 12 players until the end of the game."
Spain shot 11-out-of-19 on three-pointers and dominated the board by 39-25. Pau Gasol led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Ibaka adding 17 and Juan-Carlos Navarro 14.
China's Wang Zhizhi had 15 points and Chen Jianghua chipped in 12.