Five years after his last visit to the Yuanshen, Yi Jianlian made up for lost time by scoring 26 points and hauling in 12 boards as the Guangdong Tigers routed their hosts in ruthless fashion. The seven-footer was an offensive force for most of his time on the court and made a powerful statement to any teams watching him back in the NBA.
Going into the game, Shanghai were immediately at a disadvantage when Liu Wei was withdrawn from the game before tip-off. With Meng Lingyuan also held back from playing, the Sharks’ backcourt options were fairly sparse and back-up pointguard Ge Yong certainly didn’t shine as he scored 8 points in forty-four minutes whilst shooting 4-of-14 from the floor.
With their Chinese team mates looking sluggish, it fell to DJ White (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Gilbert Arenas (20 points) to keep things even remotely respectable for Shanghai but in truth, the home side were always lagging behind Guangdong.
Led by Yi, the Tigers were ruthless in their dismantling of Shanghai. Ike Diogu crashed and bashed around in the paint on his way to an 18/19/3 statline for the evening while Zhu Fangyu was close to flawless coming off the bench, missing only one shot the entire game as he finished with figures of 16/7/3.
However, Yi was the main man for the Tigers as he made long-range jumpers and rim-rocking dunks with chilling nonchalance. A swaggering finish to a Terrence Williams alley-oop pass in the second quarter was the highlight of the game and Shanghai seemed relieved that Yi was pulled midway through the fourth quarter to avoid any more embarrassment.
The Sharks, who only scored six points in a humiliating final quarter, have now lost their last three games. They will now hit the road for the game with the equally underwhelming Fujian Sturgeons and must hope for better things against Wang Zhelin’s team.