Midway through the second quarter, the cameras from Sohu panned across the Sharks bench. Shanghai were already down by 21 points with barely ninety seconds of the second quarter played. Liu Wei and Tseng Wen-ting had their hands spread across their faces in complete despondence A couple of minutes later, the same camera crew zoned in on Wang Qun, who seemed to be looking into dead space as if he couldn’t believe what was happening. Fujian, a team in complete chaos, who had recently fired their head coach, had lost four games in a row and happened to be one of the few teams with a similar record to the Sharks were running riot.
Tonight was a painful, embarrassing defeat for the Sharks, who were caught off guard early on by a Fujian team that seemed desperate to rescue some pride. Wonderkid Wang Zhelin helped set the agenda as he shifted effortlessly between the four and five spots on his way to putting up 23 points and 17 rebounds.
To their credit, the Sharks cut the home side’s lead to just three points in the third quarter thanks to an inspired effort from Gilbert Arenas and DJ White but that was as close as the visiting team would get. Fujian, realising the game was on the line, quickly put the ball in the hands of their front court duo of Wang and Will McDonald and let the two men do the rest down low. A double-digit lead was duly restored a few minutes later.
The Sharks kept on coming and brought the game to within four points with 1:01 left on the clock thanks to Arenas but ultimately, the Sharks would pay the price for a terrible start to the game in which they were outscored 43-18 in the first quarter.
Obviously this being a home game, Fujian would also enjoy some generous home refereeing too. Wang Zhelin in particular got away with a couple of seemingly obvious travels while even the merest touch to a Sturgeons’ player would result in a trip to the line but regardless, the Sturgeons ultimately deserved their win having started very strongly and just about stayed infront for the majority of the game.
Will McDonald’s 28/12/3 night was the icing on the cake but all of Fujian’s crunch-time five scored big. Along with McDonald and Wang, Zhao Tailong got 20 points, Sundiata Gaines scored 18 and Zhou Qixin had 14. Indeed the five combined for 103 of the home side’s 114 points and it was those hot hands that ultimately help keep the lead.
For Shanghai, Arenas’ 45/11/3 evening was for sadly nothing as the Sharks slipt to the bottom of the CBA rankings. White also worked hard and made 16 points with 6 rebounds and 4 steals whilst Zhang Zhaoxu had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.