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Basketball

Spain stays focused

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Associated Press / August 15, 2008
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Spain beat Germany, 72-59, yesterday, showing no sign that it is distracted in any way by the flap over a photo for an ad campaign featuring its entire basketball team.

The Spaniards were cheered by the crowd and were backed by Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol with 13 points. The ad running in Spanish newspapers showed all 15 members of the team using their fingers to apparently make their eyes look more Chinese.

The controversy hasn't been reported in China's entirely state-owned media and Chinese fans at the 18,000-seat Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium cheered for both teams during the game with no sign of anti-Spanish sentiment. Beijing Olympic committee spokesman Wang Wei said he hadn't seen the photo and couldn't comment on it.

Spanish guard Jose Manuel Calderon suggested the issue had been blown out of proportion.

"I think we're talking about things that don't matter," the Toronto Raptors guard said after the game. "We feel bad, but there is too much talk about it. We are a very multicultural country in Spain. We are for sure going to apologize."

Calderon led Spain with 15 points.

Spain double- and even triple-teamed Dirk Nowitzki (11 points) of the Dallas Mavericks. German coach Dirk Bauermann said he felt "a few more fouls should have been called."

China 85, Angola 68 - Houston Rockets center Yao Ming scored 30 points, giving the Olympic hosts their first victory.

Using an overwhelming height advantage, China dominated under the basket and exploited frequently sloppy play by the African champions for easy baskets.

Yao drilled 10 of 11 field goals for 91 percent shooting, matched by 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Sun Yue added 11 points for China, sinking all four of his field goals, including two 3-pointers. Joaquim Gomes had 17 points to lead Angola.

Yi Jianlian of the New Jersey Nets seemed to come alive for the first time in the tournament, stuffing several big jams and grabbing 10 defensive rebounds.

Lithuania 86, Russia 79 - Jonas Maciulis made a 3-pointer to put the Lithuanians up for good in the final minutes en route to a win over Russia. Rimantas Kaukenas scored 20 points to lead Lithuania.

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