With a playoff spot already booked, the Sharks came to Beijing knowing that the clash with their traditional rivals would go a long way to determining where Shanghai would finish in the playoff posistions. Yet come game time, it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t going to be the Sharks’ lucky day and a sensational burst of long-range shooting from the Ducks was enough to put the visitors on the back foot for long enough for Beijing to build up an insurmountable lead.
The problems for the Sharks started early on following Ji Zhu’s improbable transformation into the second coming of Reggie Miller. The Beijing forward went four-for-five from three-point territory as part of an onslaught from downtown whilst the Ducks raced into a 38-22 lead after the first twelve minutes.
Somewhat surprised by proceedings, the Sharks picked themselves up and threw themselves at the Ducks with what little time they had left via the directness and persistence of Mike Harris and Meng Lingyuan. A shaken but clearly not out of it Shanghai side then went to the dressing room down 57-43, but with the knowledge that they could get still something out of the game in the second half.
However, those plans were soon scuppered by the trio of Ji, Stephon Marbury and Randolph Morris, who each made their own contribution to keeping the game out of reach for the visitors and though the Sharks fought hard, Beijing had enough guile to keep the game from getting close, largely thanks to the finishing of Ji and Randolph.
The Sharks, worn out and tired as the game drifted into the final stages, eventually began to fall away and the Ducks were able to see out the game despite the admirable tenacity of Harris and Marcus Landry.
Randolph scored 24 points whilst Ji (20), Marbury (13) and Zhu Yanxi (10) all got into double figures as well. For Shanghai, Landry (18), Harris (13) and Liu Wei (10) all made useful scoring contributions but it wasn’t enough to neutralize Beijing’s fantastic start to the game. The Sharks now move on to their final game of the season against the Tianjin Lions on Wednesday.