Two words. Wilson Chandler. The American forward is the centre piece of a team gunning for a title run, and has hit the ground running in the CBA, with a points-per-game average of 33.8.
The Hangzhou based outfit made the CBA playoffs in the two previous CBA seasons but didn’t make the final on either occasion. Thanks to the NBA lockout, the Lions already picked up Wilson but also recently attempted to double their Chandler factor by attempting to sign the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler as well – a sign of their fiscal firepower.
Standing on the sidelines for the Lions will be the venerable Jim Cleamons, who won the NBA title as a player back in 1972 with the LA Lakers and then called the shots for the Dallas Mavericks from 1996-1997 in-between assistant jobs in Chicago, (where he won a ring as part of the Bulls backroom staff in 1991) New Orleans and Oklahoma.
For the Sharks, this will be a daunting home game, their first of the 2011-2012 season. Taiwanese guard Lin Chih-Chieh can also cause more than a little mischief and Guangsha haven’t scored less than 89 points in a game this season. If the Sharks are sensible, they will have spent their six day break since the loss to Foshan working out a way to deal with Chandler, who will have had enough exposure on TV for Daniel Panaggio to work out if he can be slowed down (early indications seem to imply ‘no’).
I have a horrible feeling that this game might quickly blossom into a cards-all-in, offensive shoot-out, something which Mssrs. Liu, Harris and Kelly will be more than content to involve themselves in. Whether or not they can keep pace with the ferocity of the Lions’ weapons remains to be seen but if the triangle offense and defensive competency was suddenly going to come together, there couldn’t be a better time than tomorrow, live on CCTV against one of the most eye-catching sides in the CBA.