- National Teams
Joel Freeland took over in the fourth, putting the team on his shoulders as he had 12 points in the period to finish with an 18 point-13 rebound double double. Luol Deng and Mike Lenzly joined him in double figures with 15 and 13 respectively, whilst China were led by 20 points and 13 rebounds from Jianlian Yi.
Being on the court for the first time with his teammates this summer, Luol was happy to be back but recognised there is a lot of work to be done:
“It felt good, it was fun I really enjoyed being back on the court with the guys. We’ve got a lot to improve, the guys are playing hard, tonight China played us zone the whole game and we definitely gonna look at tape and try and learn from that. The main goal is winning the game and I’m glad we got this win.
Head coach Chris Finch was also pleased to get the first win on the board:
“It was a tough game, but we showed a lot of effort, we needed the win that has alluded us. Today we won a game that was close for us, mainly on the back of Joel’s rebounding effort.
“This competition is important for us, not just because we are at home, but we are going to see these teams in the Euros. We have young players who need to come together, and this is all part of that process. It’s gruelling playing five games in six days, but it will be the same in Lithuania.”
China’s only NBA player Yi took it straight at Freeland for the opening points of the game as he tried to assert himself downlow. Freeland came right back at him, scoring on a nifty reverse lay-in.
Deng got his first points of the 2011 campaign on a free throw, to put GB up 5-4 a couple of minutes in. A powerful one handed dunk from Freeland tied the game at 7, as it became apparent Joel’s ankle was fine after rolling it on Thursday against Serbia.
GB led 11-10 midway in to the first quarter after a baseline three from Luol for his first field goal. That three was part of an 8-0 run, punctuated by a Dan Clark fast break dunk to put GB up 15-10, with 3:31 left in the quarter.
Behind 6 points from Freeland, GB held a 19-12 lead after the first quarter.
A huge Luol Dunk dunk on the fast break put GB up 21-14 with just under two minutes gone in the first quarter, as they started to seize control of the game. Mike Lenzy swished a baseline three to put GB up 29-22 with 4 minutes left, but GB still couldn’t quite get away from the Chinese. At halftime, despite solid defense, offensively GB just couldn’t convert as they held a slim 32-26 lead.
Luol went coast to coast to finish a floater in the lane to keep the lead at 6, 34-28 with 3 minutes gone in the third quarter, before a Chinese turnover led to another score from Deng, this time a three. Zhi Zhi responded for China with a three of his own, as the lead was one again six, 37-31 with 6 minutes left in the third.
A three point play from Lenzy, sandwiched between two Yi baskets, allowed the Chinese to close the gap slightly, but Lenzly again responded himself, with a three to put GB up 43-35 exactly halfway through the third quarter. China then went on a 10-3 run, forcing multiple GB turnovers as they reduced the deficit to just one, down 46-45 heading into the fourth quarter.
Adegboye had a fast break layup to open the fourth quarter, but China responded with a huge three to tie the game up for the first time, at 48-a-piece, just two minutes into the period. Lenzly swished a three on the baseline to once again give GB the lead.
Deng checked back in with 6 minutes to play in the fourth, and China’s Yi hit a baseline 18 footer to give China their first lead of the game, 52-51. Freeland hit a tough drive to the basket at the the other end, putting GB up 53-52. Shortly afterward Finch wanted to talk it over, calling timeout with 5:25 left in the game.
The timeout made little difference, as GB continued to struggled to score. To make matters worse, Dan Clark got called for a technical foul. China failed to fully capitalise however, and GB continued to hold a one point lead, 54-52 with 4 minutes to play. Freeland got fouled and split the pair, giving GB a two point cushin, 55-53 with 3:33 left in the game.
China failed to score at the other end, and yet another Freeland offensive rebound and putback extended it to a 4 point game. Freeland then got fouled after securing a defensive rebound, and with China in the penalty, went 2/2 at the line to go six up. Freeland continued to lead GB as they went on a 5-2 run to finish the game, with Freeland having four of them, scoring twice more at the line and then finishing a tough alley oop-lay in from Lawrence.
Box score and statistics can be found here.
France 83-58 Croatia
Tony Parker had 12 to lead the French, Joakim Noah 11, Nando De Colo 10. Bogdanovic leads Croatia with 16, whilst Stanko Barac has 13. Box score.
Serbia 69-78 Australia
Australia led by 17 points from Ingles, Newley 14, Dellavedova has 12. Krstic has 17, Savanovic 16 to lead Serbs.
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Image Credit: Mansoor Ahmed Photography