The Sharks, having on their first away game of the season against Bayi Rockets, now journey to Yiwu for a tricky tie against the Zhejiang Bulls, who obviously made the headlines in the summer with their acquisition of former Denver Nuggets man, JR Smith.
Zhejiang are currently holding an 8-4 record overall, but are 4-2 at home after defeats by Beijing and Shandong.
Standing in the way of the Sharks winning an improbable fourth game-in-a-row will be the suddenly in-form JR SMith. The American was initially criticised for a low-scoring couple of games which he argued was more team orientated than lazy. Since then, Smith has burst into life and put up a couple scores in the high forties and fifties. Having had an unsettled start to the season, Smith has finally found his groove and has spent the last few weeks mercilessly dunking on opponents electrifying the league in general. The forward is lethal driving to the rim but is also averaging almost 50% from three-point range meaning that the Sharks will be weary of backing off against the American.
Josh Boone will also have to be kept under wraps if the Sharks are to do well. The former New Jersey Net kept the team ticking along whilst Smith found his mojo and will be more than happy to put up a decent score if he isn’t shown the appropriate respect by whoever is marking him. On the defnesive side of the game, Boone is averaging 11 rebounds a game highlighting his importance of both sides of the court.
Cao Fei and Ding Jinhui are also threats to the the Sharks, particularly in front of their homecrowd in Yiwu. The Bulls have put up at least 93 points at home this season and when they get going, can’t be stopped without maximium effort.
With Kelly recovering from his injury quicker than expected and Tseng seemingly a day or two away, Shanghai have a fighitng chance but this is a very decent team that the Sharks are about to play. I would be shocked if the Sharks did the dirty on the Bulls but its posible, but it would need some clinical shooting and being hard on defence at the same time. A tall order indeed…