Guangdong Tigers 97 @Liaoning Leopards 96; (Liaoning Lead 2-1)
Guangdong-Yi Jianlian, 26 pts, 10 rbs; Justin Carter, 16pts, 7 rbs, 6 asts
Liaoning- Lester Hudson, 34 pts; Shavlik Randolph 20pts.
Guangdong won out in a wild game that will be remembered for several huge shots in the final seconds but a sloppy first half was ultimately what undid Liaoning in front of their home fans. A chippy game that defined a very feisty series ebbed and flowed amid nervy turn-overs but by the third quarter, Guangdong had opened up a lead that nearly reached twenty points.
Yet suddenly, Liaoning seemed to find themselves and exploded into life with the fourth quarter looming. A number of big baskets down the stretch reduced Guangdong’s lead to just three points and with less than a minute to play, Lester Hudson nailed a corner three with a man in his face to tie the game up at 94-94. With twenty-three seconds left in the game, Hudson then appeared to have won it all when he cut between two Guangdong players, charged into the paint and somehow laid the ball up and over Ike Diogu.
With the series coming down to one play, Guangdong then heaved up a miracle play of their own when Zhou Peng drained a heavily contested corner three of his own to win the game and extend a remarkable semi-final clash.
Sichuan Blue Whale 115 @ Xinjiang Tiger 104; (Sichuan win the series 3-0)
Sichuan- Justin Dentmon, 36pts; Hamed Haddadi 29 pts, 18 rbs.
Xinjiang- Andray Blatche, 33pts (6-of-8 from 3pt).
Heavily fancied Xinjiang are out are of the play-offs following a comprehensive beatdown. Knowing they had no choice but to go for it, the home team’s desperation played right into the hands of Sichuan, who eventually slowed down the Sichuan offense and then proceeded to march down the other court and rain down three-pointers almost at will.
Andray Blatche made a commendable final stand but there was few Tigers players around him that willing to help him out. With eight minutes on the clock, the American even tied the game up 96-96 with a top-of-the-arc three-pointer and for a second or two, it seemed like something was about to happen. However, a tactical adjustment by Sichuan saw the offense turned over to Justin Dentmon and Hamed Haddadi as the Blue Whale attempted to finish out the game using the hot hands of their foreign players.
Zhou Qi, Xinjiang’s potential NBA draft pick was especially silent as the game started to drift away from his team. Haddadi bossed the paint down the stretch whilst the pacey Dentmon did the rest in transition. The end was swift but the reprocutions in Urumqi will be bloody.