Basketball World Cup in Beijing. Excellent start of the game for Team China but painful loss in OT vs Poland 76:79 in the end of the game.

Personally I think that Team China was quality enough team to win Poland. Poland definitely not among TOP 10 teams in Europe and their only active NBA player Marcin Gortat is not with his team in this World Cup. Yi JianLian is the best player in Group A.

So what’s was the problem? Zhou Qi did not play well in the end of the game, Coach Li Nan strategy or just silly turnovers while the ball was inbounding ball from side-line? In my opinion… the absence of Guo Ailun was the biggest problem!

With him on the court probably there’s no need for last seconds drama.


One of the key players simply can’t get 5 personal fouls in 13 minutes even I really liked aggressive pressure defense by China team guards including Liaoning star.

Also there can’t be complaining about referees, referees was good enough…

Foul #1. Too aggressive post defense & unnecessary attempts to steal the ball.

FOULs 1 post

Foul #2. Transition.

FOUL 2 transiton

Foul #3. Offensive foul.

3rd offensive foul

Foul #4. In my opinion only foul where we can discuss if it was foul or not.

Foul 4

Foul #5. Fouled his opponent while fighting the screen.

FOUL 5 fighting screen




Most of you basketball fans know your own players from A to Z. My impressions:

  • World-class ball-handler (other examples Kyrie, Kemba);
  • High IQ player, takes care of basketball – 1 (!!!) turnover in 47 minutes! Great decisions in pick-and-roll situations.
  • More dangerous on drive vs. outside shooting. In last 2 NBA seasons he made almost 35% of 3-pointers which is OK accuracy but nothing impressive. (

Stats Guo

  • Quick. Extremely dangerous in offensive transition. Puts lot of pressure on defense by attacking the paint. Was a bit unlucky with finishing around the basket (vs. Poland).
  • Sometimes play too emotionally and unnecessary aggressive on defense.


Of course coaches wish players never get tired and make all their shots but it’s obvious that this is different Team China when Yi and Guo is on court at the same time. Unfortunately for Asia’s best team 2 of their best players already had 3 personal fouls each pretty quickly.

Points difference when Yi and Guo was on/off court vs. Poland.

China on court bench


Team China strategy was to play with 3 guards and 2 big men at the same time very often. Shorter and quicker guards were able to put lot of on-ball pressure on Poland outside players.

Still Asia’s best team’s strength is not outside players (especially if Guo Ailun not playing). Ok, Zhou Qi obvious didn’t have his best game but anyway… Team China big men trio – Yi/Zhou Qi/Wang are definitely better than Polish teams’ and many other World Cup participants PF/C position players.

Statistics (vs. Ivory Coast vs. Poland).

Guo Ailun vs other Team China guards.

Guo Ailun vs guards

This is not an compliment to an outside player, especially for PG or SG if defense defends pick-and-roll with SQUEEZE & UNDER or UNDER strategy.

SQUEEZE & UNDER strategy is used vs non-shooting ball-handler + big men as a threat. It provokes guard to take shot and takes away big man’s roll or pop option.

Squeeze and under



Despite Rui Zhao (#1) made 42% of 3-pointers last season with Guangdong team , he doesn’t shoot too many 3s per game.

Nowadays is hard to win big games and big tournaments without wing players who can made catch-and-shoot 3s’ or play pick-and-roll effectively…

Yes, also Guo Ailun is not the world-class outside shooter but his abilities to drive to the basket and ball-handling creates opportunities for other teammates. He is much better offensive player than other guards in this team!

Sad that 42 years old LiNan can’t join this China team and play in 2004 Athens Olympic game level when he was 27. This team lack of this type of player in it’s roster in this World Cup.

Li Nan

Good luck for Team China vs Venezuela! Sixth player in packed and loud Cadillac Arena in Wukesong could be a game deciding factor. 60/40 – China.


Thanks for reading!







Author: abouthegame

Basketball coaching/sports data

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