Mary Nicole Nazzaro，玛丽-纳扎罗，是《体育画报》英文版和中文版的记者，目前正在北京采访正在进行的第二十九届夏季奥运会。他毕业于加州大学伯克利分校，获得了电视传媒以及中文的双硕士学位。毕业之后，纳扎罗小姐来到汕头大学担任了一年（2005至2006）的新闻学讲师，随后在2006年夏天成为了《体育画报》的特约撰稿人。
小组赛的抽签结果不得不说是美妙的天意：美国VS中国，球迷最喜欢的球队 VS 祖国的球队，还有身兼中国最伟大篮球明星和中国最称职公民之一的姚明 VS 高高在上的“梦八”巨星。然而实际上，这样的对阵或许并不是组织者和球迷所希望看到的。当昨天晚上美国队以31分的优势（101-70）取得最终胜利时，你不会太在意当前所发生的事情，而是会去想，中国篮球能在未来带给我们什么样的惊喜。
原文：CHINA-USA MEN'S BASKETBALL By Mary Nicole Nazzaro
What a night!
It wasn't the score that lit up the night at the Olympic basketball arena at Wukesong, but the energy and intimate basketball knowledge of a crowd that hoped for the home team to pull off a miracle, but knew at heart that they were watching a stunning work in progress for the United States' resurgence as an international basketball superpower. China will get there; Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, Sun Yue, Wang Zhizhi, Zhu Fangyu and the rest of Team China will be sure that they do everything possible to make China an international basketball power in its own right. But last night was a night to admire the world sport that basketball has become while also letting it all hang out for the team that could be called visitors in name only.
How else can you describe it when Kobe Bryant gets almost as many cheers in his pre-game introduction as Yao Ming? The crowd at Wukesong was like the rest of China's basketball fans: knowledgable and absolutely in love with the NBA. How else can you explain the cheers from the crowd with every LeBron James dunk? This is a country that loves basketball, and loves the NBA.
When the draw for the men's basketball preliminary rounds was announced, the matchup was just too good to be true: the United States versus China, the favorites versus the home team, Yao Ming in his dual role as China's greatest basketball player and one of its finest citizens, versus the swagger of the NBA's American superstars. But in reality, this wasn't quite the matchup between two powerhouse teams that organizers and fans might have been hoping for. When you win by thirty-one points as the United States did last night (101-70), you're looking more a preview of what may be to come in the future for Chinese basketball than what may happen in the present.
Still, the home team did themselves proud. China played an impressive passing game, especially in the early going, as Yao was surrounded by defenders. Chinese players loved the three-point line; the first points of the game were scored on a three (by of all people, Yao) and by game's end, no less than six Chinese players had hit threes. Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, both of whom have NBA experience to add to their maturity as international-level players, each hit four threes. The players admitted afterwards that that hadn't been their initial strategy against the Americans, but when Yao was swarmed by Dwight Howard and the rest of Team USA, the Chinese had to regroup.
Afterwards the players were circumspect about the challenge they had faced. (You have to wonder what it's like going from the CBA to suddenly being guarded by the likes of Kobe Bryant). Forward Zhu Fangyu noted that the game had been an excellent lesson for the Chinese team. "When I watch NBA, I tend to focus on the players in my position, like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant," Zhu told a packed post-game press conference. "This game is a chance for me to examine myself to see the gap between the NBA stars and me."
It was also a chance to see the potential for a future in Chinese basketball where the competition reaches the highest level internationally. The crowd support is already there. During the playing of the national anthems, it seemed the entire crowd knew the lyrics to "March of the Volunteers." In contrast, there were few singing the American national anthem. But when the American team made its flashy plays (so many, in fact, that more than one reporter in the post-game press conference asked Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski whether the Americans were showing off to much), the crowd worked itself into a frenzy. You can't have too many dunks or alley-oops with this crowd.
Here's what was best about USA-China. Even thought the USA is far stronger competitively right now than the Chinese, the game was competitive, exciting, and passionate. All of the players conducted themselves well. The crowd loved the experience. The Chinese players got a taste of what they could be in the future, and now that they've got their hardest match out of the way, they can focus on Germany and Angola, and focus on getting into the elimination round. For the Americans, the night was further proof that the NBA's popularity reaches far into Asia now, further than many of them had dreamed. Far enough that someday, perhaps, a generation of players who were children last night and watched the game with their families will be inspired to bring China's basketball achievement to a new level.
In other words, last night, both sides were winners.