Well I guess it was going to happen eventually but having seen the Sharks overcome Guangsha Lions in heroic fashion on Sunday, I was expecting Shanghai to make it to Friday with their winning streak intact before maybe losing it to Liaoning or Guangdong, but evidently Osama Daghles didn’t get the memo and took centre stage in a swaggering takedown of the Sharks. The Jordanian put up a triple-double on his way to leading the Tigers to a 95-82 win and Jilin were good value for their win.
Things didn’t start brightly for the Sharks who fell behind to some long-range shooting from Lu Wei and generally seemed flat-footed against a Tigers side who had got six out of their seven wins up till then in front of their home crowd up.
Having started to get his rhythm going in the first quarter, Daghles opened up his bag of tricks in the subsequent twelves minutes. A no-look pass here, a deft shoot from a tight angle there; everything was going through the point guard and the Sharks were all at sea trying to pin down their tormentor. It didn’t help that Cartier Martin was also up to no good and the American started making shots from all over the floor as the Tigers’ star men set about building up a 49-38 lead before halftime.
Shanghai didn’t give up or fade into the background but everything seemed to be going the way of the Tigers, especially the calls from the referees. Mike Harris, who’d already expressed his frustrations in the first half, was becoming increasingly angry at the calls or lack thereof from the men with the whistle. At one point, the Sharks forward literally sat down in the Shanghai paint to illustrate a missed travelling call that kept Jilin in possession of the ball during a critical passage of play.
Despite his outbursts, Harris was still the main outlet for the Sharks and he linked up well with Marcus Landry to keep the game competitive but for all their endeavours, Shanghai were struggling to keep up with the scoring of Martin and Daghles, who were raining down shots from all angles.
There was a point when it looked like the away side could pull off something when nice shooting from Wang Yong and Meng Lingyuan brought Jilin’s lead back to under double figures. However, a couple of plays later, having pulled the game back to within six points, the Sharks spilled the ball in the Tigers’ paint and Daghles (who else?) returned it back to the Sharks end and curtly laid the ball off the glass and in.
As simple a move as it was, it effectively meant that the game was over for the Sharks and Martin, who’d already been smoking hot when he had the space to shoot, carried on doing his thing and moved the scoreboard along at a rapid pace.A dunk by the former Washington Wizard and then a crisp trey from Jameel Watkins inside the final minute put a gloss on the score line but ultimately, the Sharks lost a game that never felt winnable from a Shanghai perspective, whether due to the refs or the form of Martin and Daghles.
Harris made 24 points and 11 rebounds whilst Landry got 14 including a nice three, but Daghlas’ 14 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds were the highlight of a night that also saw Martin make 34 points and 5 rebounds.
The Sharks now move on to Benxi to face the Lioaning Innovators on Friday before getting stuck into a huge trio of games back at the Yuanshen against Guangdong, Dongguan and Fujian. All four of these teams are up with the Sharks in the play-off position right now and Shanghai will have to regroup quickly if they are to stay among the pack for a shot at the post season.