The Tall Blacks have pulled off one of the biggest upsets, by beating China away from home in their FIBA World cup qualifier match this morning. Coach Paul Henare says it's one of the great wins in the black singlet.
It's been touted by Coach Paul Henare as one of the best games by a New Zealand side. It was perseverance that won it for the Tall Blacks.
Henare, “I thought we did a good job of staying in the game, and staying close. In the end, I thought it was the work we put in at the defensive end, the pressure we applied on the floor, we were able to create some turnovers, and get ourselves some extra possession through playing with some exceptional defensive.”
The loss against Korea in November now seems like a distant memory with the Tall Blacks sitting on top of the table.
“We learned a lot about ourselves from that game, and from that first window about how we prepare, the way we need to play.
[We also learned] systematically what we need to run, and the adjustments we made from that first window to this window.”
The Chinese team was stacked full of star players like Jianlian Yi, and Peng Zhou. But that didn't seem to faze a determined New Zealand attack.
“I think possibly the Chinese guards got a little bit tired, and we were able to get many guys through - the Webster brothers, Shea Ili, Reuben Te Rangi. I thought they did a good with their pressure up the floor and just having fresh bodies played a massive part.”
With such a short turn around, there is no time for celebrating. The Tall Blacks team now turns their attention to Korea on Monday night.