NANJING (Olympics) – Australia hit China with 40 minutes of hell on defense en route to a 67-55 triumph on the second day of the FIBA Diamond Ball for Men.
The Boomers forced China into 23 turnovers and also put the shackles on giants Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, limiting the trio to just 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Yi failed to score in nearly 25 minutes while Yao had 14 points along with seven of his team’s 31 boards.
"We lost the game against Australia,” Yao said to FIBA after the game.
“They are a very good side but we didn't play well. We made many turnovers. We have a lot to improve on in a short time but we will do our best."
Australia coach Brian Goorjian was clearly very happy with the performance because of his team’s execution on the defensive end.
The Boomers’ physicality was also a factor, with tempers flaring on more than one occasion. The visitors were twice called for unsportsmanlike fouls.
Matthew Nielsen was penalized for one on Du Feng while Bogut was hit with another after wrapping both arms around Yao when the Houston Rocket attempted a lay-up.
Australia’s Mark Worthington even barrelled into China coach Jonas Kazlauskas in the second half when going after a steal.
China also lost point guard Liu Wei to injury in the first quarter when he ran into a screen set by Australia big man Chris Anstey.
Liu failed to get off the floor for nearly five minutes and was eventually helped to the bench by his good friend Yao.
He went to the hospital at half-time to be checked out, with China coach Jonas Kazlauskas saying after the game he didn’t know what the injury was.
The Australians played hard but fair and that bodes well for their Olympic campaign when they will go up against Lithuania, Russia, Argentina, Croatia and Iran in Group A.
“We have to play defense like that if we’re not going to have a disappointment tournament,” Worthington said.
“This is just a building block,” Nielsen added.
Andrew Bogut, playing in his first game for Australia since signing a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, swatted two shots in the second quarter.
Anstey led a balanced scoring attack for Australia with 11 points with David Andersen pouring in 10.