After a last gasp upset victory over Xinjiang Tigers, the Sharks will now turn their attention to the Taiyuan-based Shanxi Dragons (6-3), currently third in the CBA table but have a 2-3 record on the road. The Dragons will be coming into the game having won their last four games and scoring 100+ points in each of them.
Central to this offensive potency are their overseas paring of Charles Gaines and Marcus Williams, both of whom are experienced CBA players and more than capable of putting on a show. Both men scoring averages are comfortably inside the league’s top five for ppg.
Gaines, who has previously played in Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, and Israel has been in fine of late. The former Qingdao Eagles forward, now playing in his third season in the CBA, has been averaging 28.7 points this season as well as 13 rebounds a game.
His partner in crime, Williams bounced around the NBA, turning out for San Antonio, the LA Clippers and Charlotte before suiting up for the Zhenjiang Golden Bulls in 2010-2011. In Yiwu, Williams put up eye-watering figures of 29.6 ppg, 5.4 apg and 8.2 rpg. This season, he is averaging 27.6 ppg.
Though the offense runs through their Americans team mates, Zhang Xuewen, Ren Junhui and Duan Jiangpeng have all put up decent scores in the last four games. All of this makes worrying reading.
However, as mentioned in the ever-valueable Niubball profile on all the CBA teams back in October, Shanxi don’t have a point guard. The trouble is that right now, with Liu Wei’s fitness still a mystery, neithier do Shanghai, although Liu Ziqui and Feng Tian will be primed and ready to go after their showing against Xinjiang.
This is going to be a tough game and on paper, Shanghai will have to conjure up a second excellent game on the trot to get a result here. The Sharks will once again be underdogs in their own house but this was the same with Guangsha, Jillin and Xinjiang so there’s a chance for an upset but its a big ask nonetheless.