Now back in Shanghai after a tricky two-game road series away in Guangdong province, the Sharks will have three days rest before the Fujian Sturgeons come rolling into the Yuanshen on Friday night.
The two teams have enjoyed a frosty relationship since last season following a post-game fracas in Jinjiang that saw the Sturgeons fined 70,000 RMB and center Will McDonald suspended for a game, so this game should still have a bit of edge.
The big attraction for the game won’t be either former NBA point guard Sundiata Gaines or McDonald but rather eighteen year old power forward Wang Zhelin, the teenager who famously was invited to try-out for the 2012 Olympic team despite having never played a CBA game. Now in his debut season, Wang is putting up solid numbers (20.7/10/1.4) and is justifying the talk that he is the next Chinese player to make the leap into the NBA.
This will be a tough game for the Sharks and keeping control of Gaines, McDonald, Wang and also swingman Zhao Tailong will ensure the home team are kept busy all night.
As for Shanghai’s chances of winning, a lot depends on whether Gilbert Arenas is back to full sharpness. If that’s the case, a rested Sharks suddenly has a third dependable scoring option behind Liu Wei and DJ White and so should be able to overcome Fujian. Shanghai should still have enough to win but led by their golden boy, Fujian are still very difficult to write off.