Having overcome Guangsha Lions, the next team on the list for the Shanghai Sharks will be the Jillin Tigers, who are currently sitting tight at the top half of the table with a 3-2 record for their troubles.
Jillin will arrive in Shanghai with the psycological advantage of having beaten all three of the sides that Shanghai failed to beat on their recent error-prone road trip.
Among the Tigers making the trip down from North-East China will be Cartier Martin, who is averaging 28 points a game and is Jillin’s main scoring outlet. The Sharks will also be aware of Jilin’s Jordianian pointguard Osama Dahglas, in part because he leads the league in assists-per-game (9), but mostly because he has an impressively badass name.
I would reluctantly make Jillin favourites due the simple fact that they have done a better job of actually winning games and their squad as a whole has shared out the responsability of moving the scoreboard along better*. That said, Ryan Kelly and Mike Harris looked formidable against Guangsha and if Panaggio can get them working in such an impressive tandem in the second half again, Shanghai should look at this game as a further step towards redemption. Right now, Shanghai can ride the wave that comes with a win in front of a home crowd but if 1-3 doesn’t become 2-3 by the end of Friday night, things return to square one once again. Keeping Dahglas from running the game would be a start but finding the right balance between containing both him and Martin will be this week’s headache for Coach Panaggio.
*=Disclaimer: Changchun-based basketball isn’t big on Shanghainese television so I’m going on scorecards right now.