NB: Due to work commitments and illness, I’ve been behind on my writing. To help get people caught up on the CBA Finals, here is a quick recap of the first three games between the Liaoning Leopards and Sichuan Blue Whale.
Game 1: (Liaoning won 103-89)
After a back-and-forth opening three quarters, Liaoning puled away down the stretch in the fourth. The Leopards exploited Sichuan’s weak bench and reliance on their foreign players to run up the score in the final ten minutes. Lester Hudson had 29 pts, 11 ast for Liaoning.
Game 2: (Sichuan won 96-89)
Sichuan came out strong in the second game and rode the hot hands of Mike Harris and Hamed Haddadi all the way to victory. The scoreline was close for most of the game but a number of big shots from Harris helped put away Liaoning. The former Houston and Utah forward would hit a dagger three with 53 seconds left on the clock to open up an insurmountable lead and tie up the series.
Game 3: (Sichuan won 109-104)
In front of their home fans for the first time in the series, Sichuan relied on a different American, Justin Dentmon (40 pts, 6 rebs, 6 ast), to guide them over the finishing line. Dentmon’s pick-and-roll partnership with Haddadi was simply too much for Liaoning to contain whilst Hudson also chucked up too many shots to be truly effective (he finished 5-of-14 from downtown). A Haddadi offensive rebound and put-back opened up a double digit lead with four minutes to play and after that, Liaoning had too much to do and not enough time.