Despite a gutsy, hard -fought showing, the Shanghai Sharks fell to 0-3 in the 2012/13 CBA season after being eventually overwhelmed by the visiting Shandong Lions, whose trio of overseas players; Pooh Jeter, Jackson Vroman and Zaid Abbas, combined to sink a plunky home side.
With Gilbert Arenas watching the game from under the basket with the press photographers, Shandong started by going with their duo of big men but quickly realised this wasn’t going to work. A front court of DJ White, Tseng Wen-Ting and Zhang Zhaoxu were waiting for them and a vocal home crowd got themselves going early on by roaring their approval at some meaty blocks under the basket.
Plan B was spacing the floor to allow Jeter to fire home treys, a tactic that seemed to be far more effective as Shandong raced into a sixteen point lead midway through the second quarter.
Shanghai didn’t have the cutting edge of their opponents in the early stages but what they did have on their side was a vocal home crowd, who gleefully hounded every slight mistake made by a Shandong player. Vroman in particular was getting incensed by the heckling and the Lions head coach had to pointedly gesture to the American to keep his head in the game.
With the visitors’ nerves beginning to crumble, the Sharks began to mount a slow but steady comeback and with two seconds left, a ferocious dunk from White made the game even at 42-42. Unsurprisingly, the halftime atmosphere was more than a little boisterous.
The game was suddenly up for grabs and with both sides cancelling each other out in the paint, the game quickly turned into a back court struggle- with Liu Wei and Jeter taking lead roles. When the American brought gasps from the crowd by slotting home a no-look, behind the back lay-up, the Shanghainese legend came back swinging with a ducking, weaving charge past two Lions players for a tough basket of his own.
However, as the game drifted into the fourth quarter, the Sharks gradually began to run out of steam as yet another three from Jeter helped the point guard get over the thirty-point mark for the evening.
With time running out, the American, having crossed up Wang Yong then dispatched a stylish floater to make the score 88-74 for the visitors and at that point, the home crowd finally knew the game was up and began to filter out of the building.
The Sharks came close but where ultimately failed to overcome their disadvantage of ultimately having one of their key players injured and watching the game from the sidelines. DJ White got another double-double (21 points, 17 rebounds) but the home side need Arenas back sooner rather than later so that they can halt their losing streak.