China v Spain

Olympics: China’s Spanish victory bid crushed in over-time thriller
by Jim Slater of AFP

BEIJING, Aug 12, 2008 - China almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic basketball history here on Tuesday, pushing world champion Spain to over-time before losing 85-75 in a men’s preliminary round game.
Spanish star Pau Gasol scored nine of his 29 points in the extra five-minute period to power a team with a National Basketball Association starting lineup that never led in the final 25 minutes of regulation time.
Sparked by the tough defensive play of NBA star Yao Ming, a 2.26m center, and strong outside shooting by captain Liu Wei and sharpshooter Zhu Fangyu, China kept the crowd yelling to the finish.
The Chinese have never finished better than eighth in world or Olympic competition while the Spaniards are among the favorites for gold in Beijing, but they nearly squandered a critical game to the hosts.
The Spaniards took their first lead since 26-25 early in the second quarter when Gasol scored 52 seconds into over-time and teammate Rudy Fernandez, who finished with 21 points, followed with a jumper.
A Yao slam dunk pulled China within 76-74 with 3:08 remaining but Yao fouled out trying to guard Gasol with 2:28 to play, the Spaniard completing a three-point play to give Spain a 79-74 lead as Yao went to the bench for good.
Liu led China with 19 points and Zhu and Wang Zhizhi finished with 15 each.
Houston Rockets star Yao had 11 in a stellar effort against Los Angeles Lakers rival Gasol.
China lost its opener to the US NBA stars but looked impressive for the first 15 minutes against the Americans, providing confidence and inspiration that showed against heavily favored Spain from start to finish.
Wang, China’s first NBA player, hit a jumper with 3:23 remaining in regulation to put China ahead 70-67 but Juan Carlos Navarro’s three-pointer pulled Spain level with 2:14 to play.
Wang followed with a pressure-packed jumper from the right side to put China back on top 72-70 but Marc Gasol equalized for Spain, flipping a shot in over Yao with 19.7 seconds remaining.
China took the ball but Liu, tightly guarded by Spain’s Ricky Rubio, lost the ball out of bounds. Rudy Fernandez missed a final Spanish shot to send the game into overtime.
Zhu and Liu opened the second half with three-pointers to give the Chinese team its largest lead at 52-37 just 1:51 into the third quarter.
Gasol scored seven points to keep China from extending the lead but Wang answered and Spain trailed 61-47 entering the fourth quarter.
The Spanish hit just 6-of-22 shots in the third quarter and made seven turnovers in the period to aid China’s cause.
Spain opened the fourth quarter with a 12-3 run powered by six points from Gasol and trimmed the deficit to 64-61 midway into the final period.
Wang Shipeng added a free throw and Liu sank a three to give China a 68-61 edge but Rudy Fernandez sandwiched two baskets around a Felipe Reyes tip-in and Spain pulled within 68-67 with 3:51 to play in regulation.
China grabbed a 46-37 half-time lead on the strength of a 14-4 run midway into the second quarter, with Liu Wei scoring five of his 12 first-half points to ignite the Chinese spurt after Juan Carlos Navarro gave Spain a 26-25 lead.
Yao and Gasol traded four points each and Zhu hit a three-pointer to cap the streak with China ahead 39-30 and able to keep the margin at half-time.
In the final seconds of the second quarter, Yao grabbed a rebound and fired a perfect outlet pass to Liu for a fast break layup while Spanish captain Carlos Jimenez could only throw himself onto the floor in frustration.
China will next face Angola on Thursday, the same day the Spaniards meet Germany in their last matchup before a Saturday showdown with the Americans.

Would have looked good on Spain if they had lost after that asshole picture of the team published here earlier. You can bet the Chinese team had that taped up in the locker room!!

I saw that picture. YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT!!!

The push into overtime might come back to haunt the Spanish later in the tournament.

I hope so! :stuck_out_tongue:

i have not got to watch any of their games yet, but how has Ricky Rubio looked?