Team China downs Charlotte Hornets 84-80, gets second win ever in NBA Summer League

The Chinese National Team has participated in friendlies against the NBA for many years now and last night, they got their second win in the NBA Summer League. Team China fell behind early against the Charlotte Hornets then took the lead late in the first quarter on a Zhou Qi three pointer and maintained their a lead the rest of the game.

Led by Houston Rocket’s reserve center Qi’s 17 points including 3 threes, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks, Team China did a good job keeping pace, staying composed and matching the physical play of their NBA counterparts. At one point, China led Charlotte by 14 points.

“The intensity of the (NBA) game is really high in the summer league,” said Chinese point guard Guo Ailun through a translator before. “It’s much stronger than what is in China. … The intensity, the pace, it’s really a challenge.”

It was Guo’s crossover on Charlotte’s Cody Martin that provided one of the many highlights in Team China’s victory. Guo finished with 12 points and 4 assists after posting 20 points in their previous game vs. the Sacramento Kings. Arnoldas Kulboka led the Hornets in scoring with 18 points. View the full game boxscore here.

When it came down to it, it was Qi that made a few of  China’s biggest plays. Not just hitting the shot that gave them the lead they wouldn’t relinquish, but he outworked the Hornets’ big men to secure a critical offensive rebound with China leading 82-80 and 12 seconds remaining.

The win is the second time China’s National Team has defeated an NBA franchise — the first time was when China beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 85-84 in way back in the 2007 NBA Summer League when former NBA player Yi Jianlian hit a baseline jumpshot at the buzzer.

NBA Summer League is Prep for 2019 FIBA World Cup

Even with the win, Team China recognizes that there’s a lot of room for growth.

“We’re still improving a lot,” Team China’s Head Coach Li Nan said. “We improved a lot when we came here. The first game we weren’t ready for the physical game, the fast game. The second game, on a back to back, we started realizing some things.”

Many of the players on this Summer League team was brought to Las Vegas in preparation for the FIBA World Cup next month.

Team China’s coach suggests that level of play at the NBA Summer League will likely surpass some of the competition that they’ll see in the group stage of the World Cup bracket.

“(Playing in the NBA Summer League is) a lot of help,” Li said. “Those teams, I think they’re better than the other teams in the group. We’re trying to play to win these games and we’ll use those games to have confidence to face the other opponents.”

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