With the CBA playoffs about to start on Wednesday, the Shanghai Daily’s Alex Linder (who went 10-10 the last time he was speculating on the Sharks’ fortunes) and Niubball’s Edward Bothfeld throw down their predictions for what should be an exciting and pretty unpredictable set of quarter-final ties.
Editor’s Note (2/21): Since we put this together last night, the following details have come to my attention which probably should come into your considerations if you were playing this game at home. We won’t change the content but a few of these
– Fujian’s Anthony Roberson is still struggling to shake off an injury.
-Guangsha have just signed signed a replacement for Chandler, he is Rodney White, who has played in Hangzhou before and will be familiar with PJ Ramos, Jin Lipeng and most of the other members of the Lions roster than haven’t skipped out on their team mates on the eve of the postseason.
– In other sudden news, Xinjiang have improbably cut Gani Lawal for reasons unknown and replaced him with fellow Nigerian-American, Ike Diogu. The power forward has moved between seven NBA teams since being drafted ninth in the 2005 draft.
Anyway, back to the speculation…
Guangdong Tigers (1) – Fujian Sturgeons (8)
AL: Guangdong: 3-0
I think Fuijian is a really interesting and deep team, but they dropped their last three games and therefore get served the sweep from the best team in the CBA. I looked it up and Fuijan almost beat Guangdong at home earlier in the season, but I think Guangdong will be too much this time around.
EB: Guangdong: 3-1
I love Fujian because of Zaid Abbas but Guangdong is the best team in the league. Maybe Fujian will get one game; I mean they can score with Anthony Roberson and Will McDonald, and Guangdong isn’t exactly a lockdown club, but I don’t see any chance of the Sturgeons winning that series
AC: Guangdong: 3-1
I’ve gone back and forth with this one because I think if Fujian got going then they could be absolutely terrifying but equally this is historically where Guangdong become ruthless and wipe out the competition. I’ve gone from a Tigers sweep to Guangdong squeezing by following a nervy game five but I’m going to finally settle for something in between.
Beijing Ducks (2) – Guangsha Lions (7)
AL: Beijing: 3-0
All indications point to Wilson Chandler not playing in this series, and considering Guangsha just sneaked into the playoffs with Chandler, I don’t think they have a shot against a really good team like Beijing (who is also one of the two CBA teams with a winning record on the road).There is some Ewing Theory potential brewing here though but I think you have to have actual talent to step up without Chandler to make that happen, and I don’t know where it’s going to come from.
EB: Beijing 3-0
I don’t know who or if Guangsha will have a replacement for Chandler. There’s talk about maybe Jamario Moon but regardless, Ramos can’t carry a team, Jin Lipeng only has so many bullets and Lin Chih-Chieh can only do so much. Beijing has Stephon Marbury, who will find a way to win, and there simply isn’t enough scoring for Guangsha now they lost the “leader” of their team.
AC: Beijing 3-0
No Chandler, no hope. The American is supposedly already in Denver hammering out a deal and without their star player, it would take something very, very special for the Lions to get out of this one (and if they got another overseas guy in, how will he fare with jetlag and so on). Beijing will want to get this done with a minimum of fuss and probably will.
Shaxi Dragons (3) – Shanghai Sharks (6)
AL: Shanghai: 3-1
Complete homer pick from me here as I think this is a TOUGH series. We don’t matchup well at all against Shanxi especially Marcus Williams (but then again who does?). Shanxi is the top scoring team in the league (111.1ppg) and we give up the least points per game (89.6), so I think this series will be decided by which side of the century mark the Dragons fall on. That and Mike Harris. I’m also making this pick because of the incredibly weird playoff format that lets the lower seeded team start-up at home and get some momentum and then with the possibility of stealing one of two games but if it goes five games, there’s no way Shanghai wins.
EB: Shanxi: 3-2
That’s the matchup I would most want to witness. Harris and Charles Gaines will be the key matchup because I think Williams has a leg up on Marcus Landry. Williams is just so efficient so I think I like Shanxi in a closely contested series.
AC: Shanghai 3-1
Shanghai homer snap! I think a lot of this rests with the first game in Shanghai. If the Sharks can go up to Taiyuan with a win in the bank, I think the pressure is on Shanxi, or more precisely Williams, to get through the next two games playing well. If there’s a slip up than Shanghai are potentially coming home to the Yuanshen playing for the series win and both teams know this. That’s obviously the dream scenario- if the Sharks lose on Wednesday, things could get messy. However, the Sharks are genuinely in the mix for this one and that’s why everything is so finely poised.
Xinjiang Tigers (4) – Dongguan Leopards (5)
AL: Xinjiang 3-1
I have no feel at all for this series, mainly because I have no clue about Xinjiang. Xinjiang recently beat Dongguan at home pretty handily thanks to 26 points from Tang Zhengdong and Mengke Bateer is one of my favorite players in the league while Shavlik Randolph is one of my least favorite [Note: As a Carolinian, Alex is legally obliged to hate all players from Duke- AC] and you CAN’T beat Xinjiang at home. It’s the same sort of situation as us, where the lower seed gets the advantage of early series momentum although I don’t think Dongguan can beat Xinjiang at home whilst Xinjiang might be able to pull out a road win. Either way this series will be a battle.
EB: Xinjiang 3-1
We were trashing them earlier this year but they have their old coach back and he obviously has an effective system in place whilst Gani Lawai and Tim Pickett filling it up and they are really hot.
AC: Xinjiang 3-1
I have no doubt that Jiang Xingquan will have his side rigorously prepared for this one. Pickett and Lawal will be primed and ready, and suddenly the Tigers are coming into form at exactly the right time. I think Dongguan will get a home win but Xinjiang will eventually overwhelm them.