In its second matchup this summer with future Olympic opponent Angola, China’s men’s national team won 83-74, behind 21 points from Yao Ming（姚明) and a strong performance from point guard Liu Wei（刘炜, pictured above). The teams are playing in the the FIBA Diamond Ball basketball tournament in Nanjing.
Yao played 29 minutes, the most he has played since returning to the Chinese national team after an injury. But he looked sluggish and sloppy and only pulled down 5 rebounds, well below his NBA average of 11. Yao’s fellow NBA player, Yi Jianlian（易建联), had just 11 points and 6 rebounds.
But China’s less famous veteran, Liu, rose to the occasion, passing out six assists, grabbing 5 rebounds and scoring 18 points, including a key three pointer to put China up by six with about three minutes left. Wang Shipeng （王仕鹏）was the team’s next leading scorer with 13.
After a slow start that had them down 18-10 in the first quarter, China took the lead for the first time in the second half but didn’t have the game in hand until the last minute. China still struggles with Angola’s quick ball movement and an active defense that often makes it tough for them to pound the ball in to Yao and Yi. The teams are 1-1 in their two meetings this summer; they play again August 14, in a preliminary round game. A win then would be key to China’s efforts to get out of the preliminaries and into the quarterfinals.
China plays Australia at 7:30 tonight.
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