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 U.S. response wasn't nearly as interesting. Just pound the ball inside and outmuscle an overmatched opponent.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds,
James Harden scored 13 points for the Americans, who 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,” U.S. coach
Two nights after having to rally from a halftime deficit and pull away in the fourth quarter for a 98-77 victory over Turkey, the U.S. led this one wire to wire. The game was close only for a little more than a quarter.
BJ Anthony scored 11 points for New Zealand, which fell to 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."