The Shanghai Sharks came roaring back from their two recent losses on the road with a commanding victory over the Bayi Rockets. The once all-conquering powerhouse of Chinese basketball looked a frail version of their former selves and a young, confident Sharks side dismantled their guests with ease. With other results going their way, the Sharks now move up to seventh place in the CBA table as the season continues to go down to the wire.
A blistering first quarter where the Sharks missed only three shots from open play allowed them to open up 34-18 lead that set the tone for the rest of the game. Marcus Landry and Liu Ziqui got things going and when the second quarter rolled in, Mike Harris and Zhang Zhaoxu kept the scoreboard ticking over. By halftime, the Sharks were leading 50-34 and save for the occasional burst of three-point shooting, the guests looked bereft of ideas.
When the sides came back after the interval, the Sharks continued to score quickly and save for the efforts of Wang Zhizhi, Bayi carried on looking lifeless.
There was an increasingly dark side to the Rocket’s play as the game began to fade away and more than one Shanghai player felt some hard contact as Bayi became increasingly frustrated. Xu Zhonghao in particular, didn’t make any friends at the Yuanshen, who took great pleasure in jeering the young forward’s attempts at trying to be the tough guy.
Landry was putting on a show towards the end of the game and threw down a couple of thunderous dunks, Meng Lingyuan popped up with a nice lay-up and Liu drilled home a couple of jump shots to keep the tempo going but as a competition the game looked wrapped up by the start of the fourth quarter.
There was still time for Xu to confirm that his IQ is lower than his jersey number when he needlessly blindsided the considerably smaller Meng with seven seconds left on the clock. As the guard lay prone on the floor, Harris looked like he wished he could do more than point to the scoreboard and look pissed, but the game was done. Meng eventually got to his feet, the buzzer rang and the Sharks were 89-77 victors.
Landry scored a game-high 22 points whilst Harris (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Zhang (11 points, 15 rebounds) both picked up double-doubles in a result that Coach Panaggio called ‘a very good game against a very good and well coached team’. Taking the time to praise his team, Panaggio also praised the defensive work of Ziqiu for keeping Bayi at bay. When asked about Wednesday’s critical match, the Sharks’ coach was brief and direct; ‘We’ve got a very big game against [Zhejiang Bulls]’; ‘they are in a battle for a playoff spot as are we. There are no room for slip ups’.