For the second year in a row, Osama Daghlas racked up a triple double on the way to inspiring a limited home side to victory over Shanghai. Last time it was the Jillin Tigers but now with the equally cumbersome Tianjin Lions team, the Jordanian point guard was just as inspirational and led from the front with a haul of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Shanghai, to their credit, hustled but could never catch up with the galvanised Tianjin offense. With Gilbert Arenas out due to a groin injury, Liu Wei playing but still nursing a knock of his own and Zhang Zhaoxu starting on the bench for the second game in a row due to some sort of ailment, the Sharks were not in as good a shape as they would want.
DJ White did his bit with his second consecutive double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) and back-up point guard Ge Yang was also good for well-taken 14 points but the Sharks ultimately found themselves getting out gunned by a healthier home side.
Things were just about competitive at the halftime break when the Lions went in at the interval with a nine point lead but the home side really stepped up a gear in the third quarter. Zhang Nan was another player to come up big for the hosts and his ankle-breaking dribble and lay-up past Cai Liang underlined Tianjin’s growing confidence.
Tianjin knew victory was in their grasp at the start of the fourth quarter and continued to keep the scoreboard turning as Donnell Harvey continued to be on the money with his deft mid-range shooting.
This wasn’t going to be the Sharks’ night and with little accuracy from long-range (Shanghai were 4-from-23 from outside the arc), Tianjin knew exactly how the Sharks were going to come at them and sat Hamady N’Diaye under the basket to soak up incursions into the paint.
Come full-time, the Sharks slipped to 0-2 before their first game at home on Friday. Besides Daghlas’ heroics, Harvey also rang up an impressive 21 points and 20 rebounds whilst Zhang had 20 points of his own. With Arenas still injured and Zhang Zhaoxu and Liu Wei not looking 100%, the Sharks were at an obvious disadvantage against the Lions and will be hoping to get back to full strength before the visit of Shandong to the Yuanshen in less than 48 hours.