The final game of Shanghai’s regular season takes the Sharks to northern China to take on the Tianjin Lions (10-21). The home side, traditionally an afterthought in the world of Chinese basketball, have shown no signs of improving from previous seasons of mediocrity and are currently third from bottom in the CBA table
Recently signed Herve Lamizana will be a useful presence for the Lions, and the Ivorian forward has been putting up decent numbers (22.6 ppg, 10.6rpg), 2.6 apg) in the seven games he has played since replacing the injured David Harrison. The much traveled swingman, Donnell Harvey (24.8ppg) will be a dangerous presence in the paint and could make life tough for Zhang Zhaoxu if the American was allowed to get going. The pick of the bunch for my money however is Zhang Nan (16.9 ppg), who was a surprising selection to start in the upcoming CBA All-Star week but certainly looked like Tianjin’s best player when the Lions came to visit the Yuanshen in January.
Tianjin will desperately want to finish this season with a winning record at home (they are currently at 8-7) but when the line-ups are compared, Shanghai look a lot stronger in nearly all departments. However, the Lions, currently on a four game losing streak including a recent home loss to the equally dreadful Foshan Dralions, still can’t be disregarded, especially in the aftermath of Jiangsu’s stunning defeat of Guangsha in Nanjing.
That said, the Sharks also need to win and ensure they stay as high up the table as they can lest they get a rested Guangdong in the first round of the playoffs. Simply put, the Sharks need to win this game to ensure the best possible start to their postseason.