The U.S. President had been licking his lips over this showdown for some time. A month ago on the sidelines of the G8 Summit in Tokyo, amidst talk about strategic issues like North Korean and Iran, Bush requested tickets to the game from his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. There was talk that Hu, though not known to be much of hoops follower, might show up as well. Instead the FM Yang was Bush's escort for the night.Good to see the world's most powerful man keeps his eye on the ball. However, it must be said that the Prez seems to have cleaned up his act with his sloppy quotes in recent years, which is a relief after some of the pre-Iraq war rhetoric. I would go so far as to say he sounded statesmanlike at the opening of the new American Embassy in Beijing last Friday, not making any silly bellicose sports-related predictions (a good thing, judging by the medal count at the moment) and talking up friendship, mutual cooperation, and fairy floss like a seasoned diplomat.