Injuries to critical Sharks personnel once again derailed a valiant performance from a team that never seemed to give up but simply lacked enough firepower going down the stretch. DJ White’s 30 points and 19 rebounds were the highpoint of the night for Shanghai but once again, the Sharks were left wondering what could have been had the breaks (and injury luck) went their way.
With Liu Wei and Gilbert Arenas both out injured for Jilin encounter and the following game against Liaoning on Wednesday, White once again had to be the main man for Shanghai and the former Charlotte Bobcats’ forward rose to the occasion with a battling performance in enemy territory.
Indeed, the Sharks kept themselves in the game until a few minutes into the fourth quarter.
A wide-open three from Zhang Biao that gave the Tigers an eleven point lead with 4:01 on the clock was the nail in the coffin but the forward’s decisive trey was the icing on the cake in a game that was won almost entirely because of the hard work of Dewarrick Spencer and Sam Hoskins.
As a contest, the lead changed hands several times during the game but this wasn’t to say that the clash was a pulsating affair. Both sides looked hesitant and there were turnovers galore from both sides.
Although Liu Ziqiu was once again turning in a good shift for Shanghai, he and DJ couldn’t hold back the tide by themselves.
Having entered the fourth quarter with a four point lead thanks to two consecutive Shanghai turnovers, Jilin were content to put the ball in the hands of their Americans and get out the way- a tactic that wasn’t pretty but did the job just fine. Hoskins took his chances in the paint while Spencer continued to cooly fire home mid-range jumpers. The Sharks on the other hand- who only scored four times from beyond the arc all night- could only sit and watch as the lead grew bigger and bigger while they tried to make up for a lack of backcourt options.
An entirely forgettable two hours in the grand scheme of things, the Sharks will once again feel frustrated after once again going into a game with one hand tied behind their back. Liu and Arenas would have surely made a difference on the night but instead Spencer (26/11/2) and Hoskin (31/17/2) were the men who made the difference simply through being on the court.