Scouting Report: Tianjin Lions (0-1)

Following the loss to Beijing, its time for a visit to Tianjin where Shanghai will take on a Lions team that has been reliably awful for as long as it has existed. A week ago, this would have seemed like an easy win for Shanghai. However without Gilbert Arenas- whose groin injury will almost certainly mean he’ll miss the game according to local media reports- suddenly the Sharks look like they might have a real fight on their hands.The main problem waiting for Shanghai will be Osama Dahglas, who in my book is among the best point guards in the CBA and his presence in the Tianjin team gives me real concern.

Playing with Jillin last season, no-one made a move on the court without the Jordanian’s approval and in another limited side like Tianjin, this will be the same situation so shutting Daghlas down will be a top priority. Shanghai did this last year at home and won easily but when the guard was allowed to do his thing in the return game in Jillin province, Daghlas promptly scored a triple-double and routed the Sharks.

Shanghai will also need to be aware of the under appreciated Zhang Nan, who quietly made last year’s CBA All-Star team on the back of his hard work from the small forward position while swingman Donnell Harvey will have his moments, but everyone else on the Lions roster is basically junk.

Despite the Lions’ historical ineptitude, this has not been an easy place to play for the Sharks and last year, it took a manic fight back in the last two minutes that was topped off with a three-pointer by Marcus Landry in the dying seconds to get it done. Shanghai will need to dig deep again this year to overcome Tianjin although I think the visitors should still be good for the win so long as there are decent performances by at least a couple of the Sharks’ big time names.

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