Having put together a fantastic run of result once this season, the Sharks will need to repeat the trick if they are to have any chance of making the post season. Smashing through the Bayi Rockets is critical to doing this and the former giants of Chinese basketball, despite having won their last two games, are languishing in 17th place and look like a shadow of their former selves with a 9-18 record.
As benefiting a side with ties to the army,the Rockets aren’t reliant on one man and can mix up the shooting responsibilities among a variety of people; the iconic but creaking center, Wang Zhizi (16.8ppg) and the equally towering duo of De Lehei (15.2ppg) and Xu Zhonghao (12.2ppg) are getting most of the chances but Wang Lei and Zhang Bo can also causes problems if playing. Their physicality might be an issue but Bayi are a long way away from Ningbo and its unlikely that a partisan Yuanshen crowd will let the referees get away with allowing too much rough stuff.
Regardless of whether the Sharks can get back in the mix for the playoffs, Bayi should be put to the sword.The Rockets recent away win against the Foshan Dralions can’t hide a dreadful 2-11 record on the road (and conceding 108ppg, which is the second worst in the league behind the Tianjin Lions). The Sharks have JR Smith and the Zhejiang coming their way on Wednesday and getting back some confidence for that game means getting a win against Bayi is essential.