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Yao Ming explodes in China's first win
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Yao Ming had 30 points and seven rebounds to put up the first win when China defeated Angola 85-68 Thursday in the men's basketball preliminary round at the Beijing Olympic Games.

China (1-2) continued on the way to produce one of the best Olympic journeys after losing to the United States 101-70, the less deficit in the Olympic history against the U.S., and pulled world champions Spain down to the overtime before losing 85-75.

Yao was playing his best match so far in the competition as he also delivered three assists and blocked four times in 30:49 minutes. The Houston Rockets center shot 10-out-of-11 in the field and committed only one turnover before he was took off 3:05 minutes left in the game.

"My teammates gave me a great help. They made the open shots to put China ahead in the first quarter. We still have a long road to go (to enter the next round). I won't say Germany is an easier opponent than Greece. We'll take one game with one time," Yao said.

Five Chinese had double-digit numbers with point guard Sun Yue having 11 points, and Liu Wei, Zhu Fangyu and Yi Jianlian adding 10 each.

"We wanted the win more than Angola. We came out strong and never gave up even they closed the scoring," said Sun, who will play for the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

China led 28-14 in the first quarter, but let loose in the second period when Angola cut the deficit to two points on 44-42 with a 21-9 run.

"China had a perfect first quarter and we had the second. But we could not defend Yao. He is too big inside the paint," said Joaquim Gomes, who led Angola with 17 points.

Angola were held to only nine points in the third quarter when China opened it up by 65-51 to enter the last period.

"We missed some of our starters, like Olimpio Cipriano and Vladimir Jeronimo. Both played today but didn't give out what they should have given to the team. We closed the gap in the second quarter but China pulled away in the third. After that we could do nothing," Angola's coach Alberto Carvalho said.

China will take on Germany on Saturday and Greece on Monday. The hosts have to win at least one game to advance into the top eight round.

"The game against Angola reminded us that there is no easy win to score at Olympics. We have to concentrate throughout the game. We can beat any team if we play like we did against world champions Spain," Liu Wei said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)

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