Liu Wei dropped a trey at the final buzzer to move himself over the thirty point mark for the night as the Shanghai Sharks romped home against a tired Jilin team who apart from DeWarrick Spencer played like they had conceded the game before the tip-off.
In another example of curious scheduling from the CBA (considering that the Chinese New Year is technically still in full effect), an arena that was barely half-full watched on as the Sharks started strongly through Liu’s hot hand.
Spencer, who dominated the ball for Jilin so much that Sharks fans began to sarcastically call for him to pass to his team mates, briefly helped the Tigers into a 37-36 lead midway through the second quarter but the homeside never looked ruffled and always seemed to be in control of the situation.
Having returned after the break with a 59-51 lead, the Sharks knew what they had to do to seal the deal. The first was to stay tight to Spencer, who was already sitting on a 20/8/3 statline after twenty-four minutes of basketball whilst the other was to exploit a defense that was struggling to contain the Sharks backcourt on the edge of the perimeter.
Both tasks were achieved in style. Spencer would only score a further six points for the rest of the game whilst Liu and Gilbert Arenas began to make the most of open looks from mid-range and beyond the arc.
A monstrous putback dunk from DJ White was also reminder of the brutal but efficient shift being undertaken by the Sharks front court as the American continually opened up space with deft footwork in the paint while Zhang Zhaoxu made the Tigers pay from the charity strip time after time.
In the end, it was a rout and the game was basically done before the fourth quarter. Outplayed on both sides of the court, the Tigers limped off into the dressing room with only Spencer- who clocked in an astounding 45:29 minutes of playing time- seeming to care about the manner of the defeat.
For the Sharks, several players enjoyed the manhandling of Jilin. Liu Wei’s late, late three-pointer gave him 32 points for the evening whilst Arenas’ haul of 25 was also well worth the price of admission.
The Shanghai guards will leave the game with the praise but Zhang also deserves some of it- the big man was fantastic; dunking, polishing off lay-ups in traffic and forcing several trips to the line on one end, whilst suffocating the Tigers on the other. He finished the night with 20 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks. White also had a typically no-nonsense 14 +11 double-double whilst Liu Ziqiu scored 15 points.