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Yao fails to save China from opening loss
Latest Updated by 2006-08-21 08:37:01
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NBA All-star center Yao Ming scored a game-high 30 points, but failed to stop China from losing to Italy 84-69 in their opening match at the 2006 World Men's Basketball Championship, which kicked off in Japan on Saturday.

Trailing 39-35 after the first half, China came back to take the lead at 48-47 as Yao scored 11 points in a 13-11 run opening the third quarter.

But Italy made six three-pointers in the rest of the period for a 67-56 advantage before extending the gap to 80-64 till the middle of the fourth.

Yao, who was playing his first competitive match since breaking his foot in April, was rested towards the end of the game.

Gianluca Basile led Italy with 27 points with Matteo Soragna and Luca Garri adding 14 and 10 respectively.

The Asian champions seemed nervous in the opening period of the Group D match, falling behind at 5-0. Then Yao had a dunk and a lay-up to lead a 9-0 run that gave China a 9-5 lead.

The Chinese team held on the lead to 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, but the Italians opened the second with a 11-3 boost to go up again at 27-20.

Yao chipped in 17 points in the first half.

China will play the United States, 111-100 winners over Puerto Rico in the first round, on Sunday while Italy takes on Slovenia.

A total of 24 teams are competing in four groups of the preliminaries with top four finishers from each group to reach the elimination round.

Editor: Donald

By: Source: China View website
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