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'2006 World Championships' category archive

China pulls huge upset to stay alive in Worlds!

Thursday, August 24th, 2006
by John

Unbelievably China was able to pull it off – an upset of Slovenia when they needed it in order to have a chance of advancing to the second round. We’ll find out when the tiebreaker calculations are complete, which won’t be finalized until later.

All of it was done in dramatic fashion with Wang Shipeng hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win it 78-77!

Yao was amazing, scoring 36 points, grabbing 10 boards, and blocking 4 shots while playing all 40 minutes. I hope that foot rehabilitated didn’t get overused!

We’ll have more news and photos on the victory as soon as it comes available. Right now the FIBA.com Web site is crashing, probably because a few hundred million Chinese are hitting that server.

Yao and Chinese finally overcome and win at World Championships

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006
by John
Yao celebrates with Wang ZhiZhi as Yao leads the Chinese with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in a 100-83 win against Senegal, giving the Chinese a chance to advance to the second round if they beat Slovenia in their next game. Yao celebrates with Wang ZhiZhi as Yao leads the Chinese with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in a 100-83 win against Senegal, giving the Chinese a chance to advance to the second round if they beat Slovenia in their next game. Not having seen Yao this happy in months, we had to include a couple of extra photos to show Yao’s happiness. Click here for more photos from the game.


Although it was expected, China finally got a win, this time over underdog Senegal 100-83. But it wasn’t as easy as the final score indicates. Senegal led by 4 points at halftime and extended the lead to 8 points in the third quarter, but then Yao scored 8 straight points to tie the game. Senegal only trailed by 4 points midway through the fourth quarter, but a couple of 3-pointers gave the Chinese enough breathing room to win going away.

Yao had 26 points and 9 boards, while Wang ZhiZhi chipped in 19 points. Click here for a recap of the game, and click here for more photos.

Now the Chinese have to beat Slovenia in their next game on Thursday if they are going to have any chance to advance to the second round of the World Championships (which Yao guaranteed before the tournament started). It will be interesting to see Yao playing against his old Rocket teammate and friend Bostjan (Boki) Nachbar for tournament survival.

Speaking of teammates, I had to include a photo below of Yao playing against potential future teammate Malick Badiane (#15) from Senegal. Maybe in the next year or two we’ll see Yao and Badiane playing together in Houston. Click here to see the post I wrote a few days ago about Badiane.

Yao goes up against the Rockets 2003 draft pick Malick Badiane on Wednesday in a match-up between China and Senegal.Yao goes up against Rockets 2003 draft pick Malick Badiane on Wednesday in a match-up between China and Senegal, which China won 100-83. Maybe one day both will be playing in Houston together.

Articles on China’s crushing loss to Puerto Rico

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
by John

Alot of people are upset on the poor officiating from yesterday’s China-Puerto Rico matchup where Yao fouled out with 4:40 remaining on a controversial call, leading to China’s defeat.

I loved Yao’s line after the game: “I have nothing to say because we were playing five against eight (referring to three officials).”

This loss especially hurts since China had an 11-point lead with 8:40 remaining in the game. China is now 0-3 in tournament play, needs to win its final two games, and needs help from other teams in order to advance to the next round.

Click here and here for two separate articles written about the game.

For Raymond’s analysis on the officiating and photos from the game, click here.

Yao’s tremendous game still not enough against Puerto Rico

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
by John
Yao reacts after scoring two of his 29 points against Puerto Rico on Tuesday.  Yao shot 60% from the floor, grabbed 8 boards and blocked two shots, but the Chinese lost a heartbreaker 90-87 in OT.  Yao fouled out late in the fourth quarter, and that was probably the difference in this game.  The Chinese are now 0-3 and have to win their final two games (vs. Senegal and Slovenia) in order to have a chance to advance to the next round in the World Championships in Japan. Yao reacts after scoring two of his 29 points against Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Yao shot 60% from the floor, grabbed 8 boards and blocked two shots, but the Chinese lost a heartbreaker 90-87 in OT. Yao fouled out late in the fourth quarter, and that was probably the difference in this game. The Chinese are now 0-3 and have to win their final two games (vs. Senegal and Slovenia) in order to have a chance to advance to the next round in the World Championships in Japan. Click here for more photos from the game. Click here for a story on the game.

What a disappointment for fans of the Chinese national team. The CNT had a chance to steal a victory from Puerto Rico, but Yao’s fouling out with just a few minutes remaining in the game really hurt. I didn’t see the game, but Raymond in China saw it, and he thought some of the calls were very questionable.

Oh well, at least Yao put his head to good use, which resulted in Puerto Rico center Peter Ramos applying a head butt on Yao. Click here to see the photos and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I remember seeing Ramos at the Vegas Summer League last month, and that boy is one big dude. Probably 7’4,” only an inch or two shorter than Yao. He’s probably one of only a couple of guys who could head-butt Yao. Shaq probably couldn’t even do that!

Potential Rocket teammate of Yao’s plays China on Wednesday

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
by John

Here is a good article on Malick Badiane, the Rockets 2003 second round draft pick from Senegal, who the Chinese play on Wednesday. I always have wondered how he’s progressing. Looks like he’s coming along nicely. Let’s hope he makes the Rockets in the next year or two and proves Houston can have some draft picks from the past few years stick around for awhile — other than Yao and Luther Head.

More detail on today’s Yao-Battier collision

Sunday, August 20th, 2006
by John

This article posted today on ESPN.com, which is pretty funny. It reveals more about the charging call I mentioned earlier this morning (see post below) during the China-USA game when Shane Battier drew a charge on Yao. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“I don’t know if there are too many people alive who can say they took a charge from Shaq and Yao and got the calls. I’m not very smart sometimes,” joked Battier, who remembered taking a charge against O’Neal during the first home game of his rookie season with the Grizzlies. “It was the same situation like tonight. Once Yao got the ball at halfcourt I knew I was going to have to take a charge. That was the play, and it’s a lot tougher when you have a few seconds to think about it.”

Yao wasn’t in a very chatty mood after the game, but he did pat Battier, his new teammate with the Houston Rockets, on the shoulder at he walked past him in the mixed zone. “You didn’t know that about me?” Yao said when I complimented his breakaway ballhandling.

Here’s a good story from the Houston Chronicle about Yao and Battier on that play.

Here is also a link to a short NBA.com video of Yao being interviewed after the game. Disregard the short commercial beforehand.

Make sure to scroll down near the bottom to read the little blurb on Yi Jianlian‘s supposed age, too.

Yao leads Chinese in scoring, but Team USA is just too much

Sunday, August 20th, 2006
by John
Yao battles for a rebound against the USA's Dwight Howard on Sunday in both teams' second game of the World Championships.  Although he scored 21 points, grabbed 10 boards, and had 3 assists, Yao's Chinese team lost 121-90. Yao battles for a rebound against the USA’s Dwight Howard on Sunday in both teams’ second game of the World Championships. Although he scored 21 points, grabbed 10 boards, and had 3 assists, Yao’s Chinese team lost 121-90. Click here for more photos from the game. Click here for a story on the game.

As expected, it wasn’t even close for the Chinese against Team USA in a 121-90 loss. It did get interesting when the Chinese, trailing by 25 after the first quarter, scored 10 straight points at the beginning of the second quarter to pull within 15, thanks to several three-pointers. But the USA turned on the jets and cruised afterwards.

Yao was more demonstrative than ever on some foul calls against him that resulted in him fouling out. After some of these calls, Yao trailed the ref yelling at him and holding up his arms in protest. I slowed down the replays for 3 of the fouls, and in my opinion, they all seemed to be the right call, or at least too close to call. I just think Yao was frustrated that his team was losing so badly, and had to vent somehow. But you have to give Yao credit for the passion he had in this game, even though they were trailing big throughout the entire match and had no chance of winning.

Yao’s last foul that resulted in him fouling out was an attempted block against Dwight Howard. It was tough to tell since there aren’t as many camera angles available in these broadcasts like NBA games, but it was too close to call.

The most amusing play occured about mid-way in the third quarter when Yao picked up one of his controversial fouls. Standing close to the basket on defense, Yao tipped a pass and flicked it forward to another Chinese player so that player could start a fast break the other way.

Unfortunately, the other player wasn’t expecting the pass, so Yao picked up the loose ball and basically caught his own pass — which is a double-dribble — but the refs didn’t call it, and Yao started dribbling it up the court himself. The USA’s Kirk Hinrich tried to steal it away from him, but Yao was able to fend him off and keep his dribble while still heading up court. Then seeing Lebron James in his way as he dribbled past half court, YAO IN FULL STRIDE DID A CROSSOVER DRIBBLE TO GET BY LEBRON! I couldn’t help but laugh on how wicked that move was!

That move allowed Yao to get into the paint and perhaps allow him to finish on one of the sweetest sequence of moves a 7’6″ man has ever scored on. But unfortunately for Yao, future Rocket teammate Shane Battier came into the lane and, in my estimation, established position with both feet in the lane right before Yao ran into him. But even after he made contact, Yao threw the ball up at the rim, which the ball grazed from underneath, popped over the lip of the rim, and fall through for the score! But it wasn’t meant to be after the ref called the charge on Yao.

Obviously upset that his coast-to-coast basket didn’t count, and that his team was losing so badly, Yao was really upset. But I’d rather see that then no fight at all.

Overall, Yao looked good in this game scoring 21 points (5-of-8 field goals, 11-of-13 free throws), and the U.S. ESPN2 announcers were saying the Rockets should be pleased at the progress Yao has made since injuring his foot last April.

Click here for a story on the game.

Yao plays well, but Chinese lose first game of Worlds to Italy

Saturday, August 19th, 2006
by John
Yao gets ready to throw one down on Italy in China's first game of World Championship play in Japan.  Despite Yao scoring 30 points on 70% shooting from the field and grabbing 9 boards in just 31 minutes of play, the Chinese were still overwhelmed 84-69 by Italy, who hit 13-of-25 three-pointers. Yao gets ready to throw one down on Italy in China’s first game of World Championship play in Japan. Despite Yao scoring 30 points on 70% shooting from the field and grabbing 9 boards in just 31 minutes of play, the Chinese were still overwhelmed 84-69 by Italy, who hit 13-of-25 three-pointers. Click here for more photos from the game.

Things didn’t look good Saturday night in Japan for the Chinese national team. They got overwhelmed by Italy on gimmicky 3-pointers (13-of-25) that are kind of a joke because they are so much shorter than the NBA 3-point distance. But it’s not good news that Italy still was able to dominate without #1 NBA draft pick Andrea Bargnani, who is sitting out the Worlds to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

For a story on the game, click here.

Yao getting ready for World Championships that start tomorrow in Japan

Friday, August 18th, 2006
by John
Yao works out with Wang ZhiZhi in Sapporo, Japan in their second practice for Thursday. Yao works out with Wang ZhiZhi in Sapporo, Japan in their second practice on Thursday. Click here for more photos taken leading up to the World Championships starting in Japan on Saturday.

Things have been heating up in Japan over the past couple of days leading to the start of the World Championships that start tomorrow. As always, we’ve got pictures from events leading up to it.

Click here to see a page with the following:

– Photos of Yao and the Chinese team at the Shanghai airport before taking a flight to Sapporo. You’ll see Yao in some pretty cool shades, as well as yawning big-time. That’s the first time we’ve seen photos of that!

– Some comments Yao made about how he may have overestimated his readiness after undergoing rehabilitation on his foot all summer long, and Yao’s trainer Anthony Falsone squashing rumors that the Rockets were were opposed to Yao playing in the World Championships because of his foot.

Click here to see photos taken from the Chinese team’s first practice on Thursday (yes, sometimes they practice twice a day).

Click here to read an article where Yao says he promises the Chinese will advance to the round of 16 teams.

Click here to see photos of Yao and players from other teams (like Lebron, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo) at an opening event for teams participating in the World Championships.

Here is a schedule of the Chinese team’s games at the Worlds (times are Japan time):

Saturday, August 19: China vs. Italy – 7:30pm (6:30am US EDT)
Sunday, August 20: China vs. USA – 7:30pm (6:30am US EDT, televised on ESPN2 live)
Tuesday, August 22: China vs. Puerto Rico – 1:30pm (12:30am US EDT)
Wednesday, August 23: China vs. Senegal – 1:30pm (12:30am US EDT)
Thursday, August 24: China vs. Slovenia – 1:30pm (12:30am US EDT)

If you’re interested in the USA team schedule (or any other schedule), click here for the schedule as well as the broadcast schedule.