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'2006 World Championships' category archive

Yao again emphasizes changes for Chinese national team

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
by John

Last week Yao said that the Chinese need to send some of its players overseas to improve. He said it again yesterday, this time with more detail:

“As the 2008 Olympics are drawing near, we should send abroad the likes of Yi Jianlian and Wang Shipeng as soon as possible in a bid to raise our level in the short term.”

Click here for more of the story, which explains that’s going to be tough to do given past experiences with Wang ZhiZhi — lots of sitting on the bench and moving from team-to-team. But Yao refutes that argument with the following statement.

“Even if our basketballers fail to play as regulars, we still could benefit at least from their training. I played as a substitute 10 minutes per game initially, too. It depends on your will and work.”

Bad news for USA; Good news for Rockets

Friday, September 1st, 2006
by John

I just watched the shocking upset of Team USA by Greece. Unbelievable!

No one can fault the USA for slacking like at the 2004 Olympics. Greece was the better team. The USA couldn’t stop them, and the USA’s offense just wasn’t cohesive like the Greek offense.

On top of that Greek and new Rockets guard Vassilis Spanoulis was incredible. He hit clutch free throws and 3-pointers on his way to a team high 22 points. He is going to have alot more buzz coming into the NBA now! At least that’s good for the Rockets.

Although Yao is out, two other Rockets face each other Friday

Thursday, August 31st, 2006
by John

Even though Yao and the Chinese national team are out of the World Championships, you can still see Rockets forward Shane Battier and new Rockets guard Vassilis Spanoulis of Greece play against each other on Friday. They play live on ESPN2 at 3:30am Eastern time.

Both teams are undefeated. Whoever loses cannot win the Championship, so it should be a great game.

Yao makes it clear on what’s needed to improve

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
by John

In this story, Yao thinks it’s time that Chinese players go overseas to improve…

“We cannot make enough progress by the national league alone: it’s like trying to build a cart without knowing how.”

“Chinese players have to go overseas to play. I mean, they should go there alone and fight for their positions on the teams. This is the only way to lift the overall level of Chinese basketball.”

The Chinese coach Jonas Kazlauskas adds…

“It would be good for the team to go to Europe and play against a European-style defence.”

We like how Yao and Jonas are challenging the status quo. If Team USA can revamp how they make their team better, surely the Chinese will, too.

Beijing News says too much worship of Yao reason for loss

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
by John

Interesting how strange some of the theories are revolving around China’s loss to Greece the other day, knocking them out of the World Championships. The Beijing News says Yao was getting so much adulation for playing so well in the tournament, it exhausted him to the point that he couldn’t get off more than 5 shots in that loss. Whatever.

You can read more about some of the recent headlines appearing in Chinese newspapers in this Houston Chronicle article.

The good thing is that Yao will be able to get away from all the arm-chair coaching soon when he returns to Houston on September 6th to prepare for training camp.

China eliminated at World Championships as Yao gets smothered

Sunday, August 27th, 2006
by John
Yao goes up for a tough shot around the rim in China's game against Greece on Sunday at the World Basketball Championships in Japan.  Unfortunately, the Greeks surrounded Yao all game long and forced other Chinese players to beat them.  The strategy worked.  Yao only scored 10 points, and the Greeks won going away 95-64. Yao goes up for a tough shot around the rim in China’s game against Greece on Sunday at the World Basketball Championships in Japan. Unfortunately, the Greeks surrounded Yao all game long and forced other Chinese players to beat them. The strategy worked. Yao only scored 10 points, and the Greeks won going away 95-64. Click here for more photos from the game.

As Yao was double- and triple-teamed against Greece on Sunday, the backcourt proved to be the Chinese national team’s liability as they lost 95-64 to Greece. Yao and company have now been eliminated from the World Championship tournament.

Yao, who was leading the tournament in scoring with 28.4 points per game, only scored 10 points in this one and grabbed 8 rebounds.

Things were looking good as China jumped out to a 23-11 and 27-17 lead in the second quarter, but then Greece turned on the pressure and forced a total of 24 turnovers and made China take lots of bad shots.

At least the Chinese and Yao accomplished their goal in these World Championships by advancing from the first round to this semi-final game from that amazing win against Slovenia.

And if it makes him feel any better, Yao’s new Rocket teammate and Greek guard Vassilis Spanoulis was outstanding, igniting the Greeks with instant offense and scoring 15 points overall. The Rockets can really use someone Manu Ginobili-like in their backcourt. If he’s anywhere close to being like Manu, Yao will be happy.

For stories on this game, click here and here.

Nice article on Yao’s Rocket teammate Battier

Saturday, August 26th, 2006
by John

Workman Shane Battier continues to get props from the national media during the World Basketball Championships. Here’s an article from AP.

With all the love Shane is getting among all the stars on Team USA (who would have thunk it?), I’m wondering if all the fans who bashed the Rockets for trading #8 pick Rudy Gay for Battier on Draft Day are starting to accept Shane for what he can bring to the team?

For those of you who weren’t crazy about Shane coming to the Rockets, what do you think about him now? Sound off here in the discussion forum.

Chinese basketball has progressed, but needs more global experience

Saturday, August 26th, 2006
by John

Great piece by Fran Blinebury of The Houston Chronicle this morning about how much work the Chinese basketball program still has ahead of it if they are going to be competitive in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Yao had this to say:

“We need to send more younger players to other places. Maybe not just to U.S., but to teams in Europe. Our coach can help with that. He knows a lot of people in Europe.

“When you just send a whole team to play in Europe, as we did this summer, it makes you improve. But when a single player goes and joins that team, it’s a totally different feel. That would change you much quicker than to just play team against team. Just like me. I practice every day against the best. I play 82 games a year. I would not be the player I am if I did not go to the NBA.”

China’s next game: Sunday vs. Greece

Saturday, August 26th, 2006
by John

Yao and the Chinese national team face a tough foe on Sunday night in a Greek team that went 5-0 in the first round of the FIBA World Basketball Championships.

Remember that Yao met Greek guard Vassilis Spanoulis, his future teammate in Houston this coming NBA season, for the first time on August 9th (click here for the photo, as well as here for another photo where Yao congratulates Vasilis for Greece winning the FIBA Stankovic Cup on August 15th).

Game time for their matchup is Sunday at 8:00pm Japan time, or 7:00am Eastern time in the U.S.

Also of note is Team USA’s game against Australia Sunday at 1:00pm in Japan (midnight U.S Eastern time), which will be televised live on ESPN2.

Remember that teams that lose their next game go home. Could the happy times in Japan soon be over for Yao?

Most people thought the Chinese had no chance until they shockingly beat Slovenia the other day. But if they beat Greece, they’ll play Wednesday the winner of the France-Angola game.

China advances to next round in Worlds! More photos here from incredible win vs. Slovenia

Thursday, August 24th, 2006
by John
Yao celebrates with his teammates after the last-second 3-pointer by Wang Shipeng to win 78-77.  The victory allows China to advance to the second round of 16 teams in the World Championships. Yao celebrates with his teammates after China’s last-second 3-pointer by Wang Shipeng to win 78-77. The victory allows China to advance to the second round of 16 teams in the World Championships.

You can see more photos from China’s incredible buzzer-beating win against Slovenia by clicking here, here, and here. Wang Shipeng’s dribbling up the court with just six seconds remaining and hitting a 3-pointer as time expired is arguably one of the biggest shots in Chinese basketball history!

Who would have thought a couple of days ago, when China had an 0-3 record, that Yao’s prediction of China advancing to the next round would become true? He took it upon himself to make sure they could win against Slovenia, scoring 36 points, grabbing 10 boards, and blocking 4 shots in the 78-77 win!

Click here for a story on the game. I love this quote from Yao after the game:

“This was just so exciting. So dramatic. I just gave someone 500 bucks to go buy souvenirs. I want to remember this.”

In another article written later, Yao had these other comments:

“Man, that’s a really clutch shot (by Wang Shipeng to win it). It was just the kind of shot that we see in the NBA. But it is hard for me to imagine that it would ever be coming from us.

“I tell you, I would pay anything I can pay to buy his (Wang Shipeng’s) jersey and let him sign it for me. Name the price.”

“We just want to fight like men. So even if we lost, we could return to China and face our families, our parents, our friends and say that we fought.”

“We need to be in these spots (do-or-die situations). If you follow the improvement we’ve had in the last two years, we’ve had more games like tonight. Close games that go to the last minutes. It is only going to help us. That is when you find who is the winner. This is so big for us to win this way. We need more of these experiences, learning how to play when everything is tight.”