Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lithuania Cruises to the Semi-finals over China

Lithuania - China 94-68

After Spain which booked a spot for the semifinals earlier today, Lithuania done the same. The team which demonstrated the best performance in Preliminary Group A had an easy job against the hosts of the Olympic Games 2008. However, both teams made fantastic success so far. Lithuanians ended first stage registering 4 wins and 1 defeat and now it will have a chance to fight for one of the medals. On the other side, Ming Yao (226-C-80) and his teammates made magnificent success advancing to the quarterfinals. Lithuania will meet reining World Champion Spain in the semifinals, which is scheduled for Friday.

After triple by Sarunas Jasikevicius (192-G-76, college: Maryland), Lithuania grabbed 12-6 in fifth minute. China responded very quick and mostly owing to Liu Wei's (190-G-80) five points made 9-0 run. Later, experienced Sarunas Jasikevicius and Ramunas Siskauskas (197-G-78) ended this frame with 4-0 for 19-17. Second period totally belonged to Lithuania. At the middle of it Sarunas Jasikevicius' 3-pointer ended another run, this time 7-0. At the last Lithuania's possession Ramunas Siskauskas drained a triple for 41-30 at the half time. Ming Yao shined in China after the breather but his teammates weren't able to compete against strong Lithuanians which resulted with huge 70-53 after 30 minutes. Until the end Lithuania extended its lead even more. The biggest problem for Chinese today was stroke from behind the arc as they made only 4 of 21 attempts. They also had poor 36% for FG2 and it seems that pressure before this game affected majority of China's players.

Experienced Sarunas Jasikevicius led his team to victory scoring 23 points and dishing out 6 assists for 25 minutes. Linas Kleiza (203-F-85, agency: Interperformances, college: Missouri) and Ramunas Siskauskas also were good posting 15 points each. Linas Kleiza had 7 more rebounds while Ramunas Siskauskas had two less. Simas Jasaitis helped his team scoring 12 points. Hero of the Chinese nation Ming Yao this time poured in 19 points and grabbed 7 boards for 34 minutes. Jianlian Yi (212-C/F-87) had 11 points and 9 rebounds while Liu Wei stopped on 10 points and 7 boards.

Lithuania - China 94-68
(19-17, 22-13, 29-23, 24-15)

Lithuania: Sarunas Jasikevicius 23 (6 as), Linas Kleiza 15 (7 rebs), Ramunas Siskauskas 15 (5 rebs), Simas Jasaitis (202-F/G-82) 12
China: Ming Yao 19 (7 rebs), Jianlian Yi 11 (9 rebs), Liu Wei 10 (7 rebs)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

China Rests its Starters, loses to Greece

Greece managed to beat the hosts of the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing grabbing third position in Preliminary Group B with score 3-2. Thus, Greece will play against the reining Olympic champion Argentina in the quarterfinals. China ended first stage as a fourth ranked team in Group B with 2 wins and 3 defeats. It is already magnificent success for the Chinese, which will meet Lithuania in the quarterfinals. It will be for sure one more interesting game in Beijing.

This one is decided already in the first half. Vassilis Spanoulis (193-G-82, agency: Beo Basket) entered into the game furiously leading his team to 27-15. He scored 11 of his 19 in the first quarter. Very soon Petros Bourousis (203-F-87) and Antonis Fotsis (210-F-81) joined him taking care for the points at the offensive end. Chinese struggled with their stroke during the first twenty minutes having also many troubles with running the plays. Greece is experienced team which knew how to exploit that. At the half time Greece set the margin on 22 points, 46-24. China treated in third period through Ming Yao (226-C-80) and Wang Zhizhi (214-C-79) coming on 58-48 in 27th minute but Greece quickly answered with 6-0. For the rest of the time Greece kept advantage of 10 or more points steady.

Tandem Petros Bourousis and Vassilis Spanoulis paced Greece to victory in this game. Each of them drained 19 points while Petros Bourousis had 9 more rebounds. Except of 19 points, Vassilis Spanoulis dished out 5 assists for 26 minutes. China's hero Ming Yao shined again nailing 16 points and grabbing 5 boards for just 18 minutes. Wang Zhizhi followed him with 14 points and 8 rebounds while Wang Shipeng (197-F/G-83) and Jianlian Yi (212-C/F-87) added 11 points apiece.

Greece - China 91-77
(27-15, 19-9, 23-30, 22-23)

Greece: Petros Bourousis 19 (9 rebs), Vassilis Spanoulis 19 (5 as), Antonis Fotsis 17 (4 rebs)
China: Ming Yao 16 (5 rebs), Wang Zhizhi 14 (8 rebs), Wang Shipeng 11, Jianlian Yi 11

Saturday, August 16, 2008

China Egdes Spain 59-55, Advances to Medal Round

China gained a spot in the quarterfinals with a 59-55 triumph over Dirk Nowitzki and Germany.

China jumped out to a 19-9 first quarter lead but lost the second quarter 22-8 to trail 31-27 at the half. China regained the lead 47-39 in the third quarter, then was outscored in the fourth quarter 16-12 but held on for its four-point victory.

Yao Ming outscored Nowitzki 25-24 but Nowitzki held the edge in rebounds 17-11. Yao hit 9 of 19 shots from the floor to 7 of 20 for Nowitzki.

Jianlian Yi (212-C/F-87) had a huge impact on the game, with 9 points on 3 of 8 shooting and 11 rebounds. He helped hold Nowitzki in check. We all know what Yao can do, but in this game Yi did what he needed to do.

Yi's performance kept him even with the LA Clippers' Chris Kaman, who had 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting and 12 rebounds.

China won this game with its ballhandling and defense. Germany does not have the best guards in the world but they are European guards. While Germany outrebounded China 47-42, China had only 9 turnovers to 14 for Germany.

China shot only 33 percent from the floor and Wang Shipeng, Zhu Fangyu, Liu Wei and Li Nan shot a combined 3 for 27. But China held Germany to a horrible 29 percent shooting percentage, the key to its triumph.

Sun Yue played an excellent game with 5 points on 2 of 3 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He showed why he could make it in the NBA as a defensive-minded shooting guard for the Lakers.

Wang Zhizhi played his reserve role with 5 points on 2 of 3 shooting, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 10 minutes. Germany made all 13 of its free throws, the only part of the game in which it truly excelled.

China will face Greece on Monday to determine third place in Group B. But this game is relatively meaningless since Lithuania and Argentina would be comparably strong opponents in the quarterfinals though Lithuania won their matchup 79-75.

China-- 19 8 20 12 59
Germany 9 22 8 16 55

Box Score:

Group A
Lithuania 4 0
Argentina 3 1
Croatia-- 2 2
Australia 2 2
Russia--- 1 3
Iran----- 0 4

Group B
USA---- 4 0
Spain-- 3 1
Greece- 2 2
China-- 2 2
Germany 1 3
Angola- 0 4

Friday, August 15, 2008

China Crushes Angola

n a must-win game against Angola today, China won 85-68.

China jumped off to a 14-4 lead and led at the end of the first quarter 25-18. But Angola rallied in the second quarter to narrow China's lead to 44-42 at halftime.

China got back into its rhythm in the third quarter, however, and outscored Angola 21-9 to forge ahead 65-51. It outscored Angola 20-17 in the fourth quarter.

Ming Yao (226-C-80) led the way with 30 points on 10 of 11 shooting in 30 minutes against the vertically-challenged Angolans whose tallest player is 6-8.

Sun Yue scored 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting in 29 minutes. He has replaced Wang Shipeng at shooting guard. Wang scored 8 points in 13 minutes.

Zhu Fangyu, Liu Wei and Yi Jianlian each scored 10 points. Yi added 11 rebounds in 33 minutes and hit 5 of 8 shots in his best performance of the tourney.

Chen Jianghua scored 4 points in 8 minutes and Zhang Qingpeng scored 2 points in 7. Note that both guards played in a crucial game where China was only ahead 72-62 in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Wang Zhizhi played 16 minutes and had 3 rebounds but was scoreless, missing both of his shots.

Joaquim Gomes led Angola with 17 points and Carlos Morais scored 13.

China hit 58 percent from the floor to 43 percent for Angola. China outrebounded Angola 37-19. But China had 15 turnovers to 9 for Angola. But speed is Angola's strong point.

Germany lost to Spain 72-59 earlier in the day. Germany is the other team China must defeat to reach the quarterfinals. China plays Germany next, on Saturday. Germany plays the United States on Monday while China plays Greece. So the result of the China-Germany game is very likely to determine which team advances.

China- 28 16 21 20 85
Angola 15 27 9 17 67

Heart Breaking Loss to Spain

China lost a heartbreaker in overtime to 2006 World Champion Spain after blowing a 14-point lead after three quarters. China was ahead 61-47 entering the fourth quarter but Spain rallied to tie the game 72-72 at the end of regulation and went on to win 85-75. Yao Ming fouled out in the overtime period attempting to block a shot by Pau Gasol.

Spain led 20-18 after the first quarter but China was ahead 46-37 at the half.

Liu Wei led China with 19 points, hitting 7 of 12 shots. He had 2 assists and 5 turnovers. But China overall had 20 turnovers to 22 for Spain. Spain outrebounded China 44-32. Spain shot 47 percent from the field to 42 percent for China.

Zhu Fangyu scored 15 points, hitting 5 of 10 shots, and made three steals. Wang Zhizhi had 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting in 22 minutes. Yao Ming had 11 points and 9 rebounds, but hit only 4 of 12 shots and fouled out after 30 minutes.

Yi Jianlian hit 2 of 4 shots and scored 4 points in 38 minutes but he grabbed 9 rebounds and made three steals, committing no turnovers.

Sun Yue had 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting with 3 assists and 3 turnovers, a steal and a block in 25 minutes.

Chen Jianghua had 3 points in 14 minutes but missed all three shots from the floor. He had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 turnovers. Wang Shipeng hit 1 of 5 shots, for three points, in 17 minutes. Li Nan played 10 minutes and scored 3 points.

Pau Gasol (214-F/C-80) of Spain was the star of the game with 29 points, hitting 13 of 17 shots, and grabbing 8 rebounds. Rudy Fernandez had 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting and also grabbed 8 rebounds.

China 18 28 15 11 3 75
Spain 20 17 10 25 13 85

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yi and Yao's health and 2008 Olympics

As we eagerly await for the 2008 Olympics, the health of Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian cannot be ignored. Both struck down by season ending injuries, the fate of the Chinese national team hangs by a thread. The recent drawing pits the Chinese NT powerhouses such as Spain and Angola and the favorite to win it all, the United States. China will be sending one of the youngest team ever to play in the Olympics games with average age of its players at 22.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


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