U.S. trounces New Zealand in basketball despite Haka dance

New Zealand's team performs a Haka before the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships Group C...

New Zealand's team performs a Haka before the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships Group C match USA vs New Zealand at the Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao on September 2, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ ANDER GILLENEA)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 3:58 PM ET

New Zealand's men's basketball team did its best to intimidate the United States Tuesday at the basketball World Cup.

The squad carried over the country's long-standing rugby tradition of performing a ceremonial "Haka" before a game against the NBA-laden U.S. team.

They danced. They yelled.

They made weird facial expressions.

Then, they lost.

The Americans stayed on course to retain their basketball World Cup title after beating New Zealand 98-71 to reach the 2014 tournament's knockout stages with two games to spare in Bilbao on Tuesday.

The Americans improved their preliminary pool record to 3-0 after New Orleans Pelicans centre Anthony Davis led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds while Kenneth Faried added 15 and 11 boards.


WATCH THE PRE-GAME HAKA


Host nation Spain and 2006 runners-up Greece booked their last-16 berths on Monday while Slovenia can join the trio when they take on South Korea later on Tuesday.

Having been criticised by coach Mike Krzyzewski after a lacklustre first-half display in a 98-77 win over Turkey, the U.S. hit the ground running against New Zealand's Tall Blacks and raced into a 57-35 lead at the interval.

Guard Stephen Curry, who failed to impress in the opening two games, capped a fine afternoon with 12 points, as did his Golden State Warriors team mate Klay Thompson.

Lithuania, bronze medalists in 2010, missed a chance to seal their passage after suffering a surprise 82-75 defeat by Australia in the afternoon's other game. Joe Ingles led the way for the winners with 18 points and four assists.


WATCH NEW ZEALAND'S RUGBY TEAM PERFORM THE HAKA


--With files from Reuters


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