Infront of a sparse crowd, the Shanghai Sharks handled their business with a minimum of fuss and dispatched a bland Tianjin Lions via the hot hands of Ryan Forehan Kelly and Mike Harris. Just as crucially, the Sharks have now earned themselves an 8-8 record at the halfway point of the CBA season.
An flu-addled Shanghai team squad took a while to get going and when they did, it was predictably through the shooting of Forehan Kelly, who made a breezy 10 points by the end of a first quarter that Shanghai narrowly edged 18-17.
An increasingly confident Sharks team began to pull ahead once the second quarter was underway. Meng Lingyuan, Liu Wei and Tseng Wen-ting all had time to drop hefty three pointers and by halftime, Tianjin were already starting to look lost and went in at the break down, 47-38.
Save for Darnell Harvey and Zhang Nan, the Lions lacked any real offensive firepower and the deficit quickly began to drift into double figures after the interval. With the Lions now backed into a corner, Harris reveled in his role as Tianjin’s chief tormentor, scoring freely and opening up space for his team mates to join in the fun as well.
The final quarter quickly became garbage time as Coach Panaggio gave his bench guys the chance to play some minutes. However, Harris and Forehan Kelly remained on the court as insurance and the two Americans continued to dine on the lethargy of the away side, and both men calmly eased their way into 20-point hauls.
When the final buzzer arrived to spare Tianjin any more punishment, the scoreboard was stuck at 93-81. Despite winning their last three games, it was exactly what the Lions deserved after such a lifeless performance. Harris picked up 27 points and 11 rebounds whilst RFK made 24 in a game that Panaggio described as ‘a necessary win’.
Qingdao Eagles will now be the next team to visit the Yuanshen. The Sharks, now 6-1 at home, will be looking for revenge against their guests after an embarrassing away defeat back in October. Going 9-8 on Friday night would be a remarkable way to finish off 2011.
Picture: Sina Sport