After a brief break to take in the madness of the CBA postseason, Edward Bothfeld is back to survey the wreckage of Fujian and Guangsha’s seasons now that they have been knocked out of the playoffs, as well as giving his thoughts on Wilson Chandler’s acrimonious departure from Hangzhou. Continue reading “Web Chat VIII: CBA Playoffs And More Wilson Chandler Shenanigans”
With the CBA playoffs about to start on Wednesday, the Shanghai Daily’s Alex Linder (who went 10-10 the last time he was speculating on the Sharks’ fortunes) and Niubball’s Edward Bothfeld throw down their predictions for what should be an exciting and pretty unpredictable set of quarter-final ties.
A nervy Shanghai Sharks held on to beat the Fujian Sturgeons after a flurry of clutch three pointers pulled the home side away from danger in the closing seconds of the game. Anthony Roberson was a constant menace for the visitors and lit up the Sharks at times in the second half. A commanding performance from Liu Wei and some gutsy three-pointers from Wang Yong were critical to giving the Sharks victory but this was a game that could have gone either way in the crucial stages but for once, the luck was with Shanghai. Continue reading “Shanghai Sharks 94 – Fujian Sturgeons 90: Last Gasp Fireworks Keep The Sharks’ Playoff Dreams Alive”
With a very difficult road game against Xinjiang on Wednesday, the upcoming visit of the Fujian Sturgeons (14-11) to the Yuanshen now has extra importance for Shanghai. A win against their guests on Sunday would not only move the Sharks up into the playoff places but also trip up one of their rivals for a postseason position. The home side were undone by old boy, Zaid Abbas, in the corresponding fixture and have to stop that happening again if they want to play on beyond mid-February. Continue reading “Scouting Report: Fujian Sturgeons”
Shanghai are now at 0-6 on the road after a typically battling, hardworking performance that saw the obligatory top drawer performances from Ryan Forehan-Kelly and Mike Harris but the Sharks couldn’t cope with the strength and guile of former Shark, Zaid Abbas. The Jordanian didn’t put on a huge score but galvanised his team with an eye-catching performance that kept a passionate home crowd on their feet.
Fujian went ahead in a big way as early as five minutes into the first quarter when Abbas starting weaving his way past his marker for lay ups or dishing it out for his team mates to score themselves. The end result was a ten point lead that the Sharks somehow immediately erased thanks to the hard work of RFK, and Shanghai instead found themselves up 22-21.
The second quarter belonged to Fujian and this time there was no Sharks comeback. Abbas was merciless when he got close to the rim and when the ball wasn’t in his hands, Lo Yi Ting and Gong Songlin had the accuracy from downtown to make the Sharks pay. A buzzer beater, inevitably a three-pointer, from Zhao Tailong sent Fujian in at the halftime break, 52-45.
Fujian continued to pound the Sharks after the break and this time, towering centre Will McDonald was up to no good, rebounding hard and making his chances when he could. With Harris and RFK working in tandem along with Meng Lingyuan, the Sharks were never out of it but the Sturgeons remained in front 74-66.
Come the final quarter, Harris achieved the remarkable feat of silencing the vocal home crowd after the Sharks had spent most of it slowly eat up the scoring deficit. The former Houston Rocket’s effort from way out now made it 89-87 with four minutes left and set up a frantic spell of complete chaos.
To sum it all up, Fujian made it 95-90 after McDonald fired home and RFK replied with a three. Wu Yang made one of his two free-throws to make it 94-91 only for Lo to bring the clock down to fourteen seconds before missing his shot from a distance. Harris then failed to make his own three pointer in the face of his marker and it looked like it was game over for the Sharks.
A heavy foul by Harris after the restart meant that the Sturgeons had two free-throws at the other end. Zhou converted one to make it 95-91 only for RFK to get two free-throws (I couldn’t see what happened due to the implausibly bad camera work from the game) which he duly made, and the score was now 95-93 with the ball still with the Sharks for a restart in the Sturgeons’ half of the court. With a millisecond or two left, Harris hoisted the ball high and wide to confirm the inevitable. Shanghai came mighty close to pull off an epic comeback but failed in the last moment.
RFK finished on 31 points whilst Harris made 18 and Meng got himself 15 points. Another valiant defeat for a side that have sacks full of fighting spirit but no luck. The return of Bob Donewald beckons on Wednesday and he’s bringing with him Kenyon Martin and the Xinjiang Tigers. Another frustrating defeat on the road was not the best preparation for such a reunion and Coach Panaggio will be no doubt telling his side as much as they fly back to Shanghai .
Shanghai Sharks move on to another game on the road, this time against the team with the least imposing name in the CBA, the Fujian Sturgeons.
Based in Jinjiang, a city that sounds about as much fun as being stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a meeting you know will be long and boring, the Sturgeons have had a mostly inconsistent season that will see them going into Sunday’s game with a 4-5 record (3-2 at home).
Having finished with an 8-24 record last year, Fujian have brought in the Dr Fix-it of the CBA, Zaid Abbas, who as noted in Niubball’s excellent review of the various CBA teams, has been the a big factor in both his two former sides improving on their dire record from the previous season. Joining the Jordanian in his quest to help improve the Sturgeons from ‘terrible’ to ‘below-par’, are journeymen Will McDonald, a veteran of the Spanish leagues and guard, Anthony Roberson, who has variously played in Italy, Israel, France as well as in the NBA (he had spells with the Knicks and Golden State Warriors).
Baring the occasional flurry from Gong Songlin, Fujian play primarily through their trio of imports but that’s still enough to cause the Sharks problems. That said, compared to Guangdong and Dongguan, this is a less difficult away game and Shanghai would have fancied their chances with a full strength line-up but with Liu Wei out, Mike Harris and RFK can’t carry the team by themselves meaning that the Sharks will need a big night from Zhang Zhaoxu or a bench player to help move the scoreboard along. It’s a big ask but right now everything is a big ask away from Shanghai…
Shangdong Lions:93 – Foshan Dralions 79
Gerald Green scored 18 points in a losing effort as his Foshan Dralions lost at home to Shandong 93-79. The former Boston Celtic made was 3/6 from field goals and 3/9 at three-point attempt, also dished out two assists, but crucially failed to dunk at all, presumably to the absolute horror of every Chinese basketball media outlet who have been contractually obliged to remind readers that he won the 2007 Slam Dunk contest at every chance they get.
Swingman Alan Anderson also put up 18 points for Shandong as well as six rebounds and three assists as the former Michigan State player helped the Jinan outfit dispatch their hosts. Sun Jie also made 14 points including four from downtown, whilst Sui Ran made (12 points), Li Lin (11 points) and Othello Hunter (11) also joined made it into double digits. Hunter was generally large and in charge throughout, as the former Ohio State power forward helped himself to 21 rebounds over the course of the game.
Guangsha Lions: 115 – Tianjin Golden Lions:113
Wilson Chandler exploded onto the CBA with an imperious 43 points, 22 rebounds and four assists in a fifty minute spell that will confirm his status as the unofficial king of Hangzhou. A high scoring affair throughout, Guangsha seemed content to sit back and let their marque name do his thing and the former Denver Nugget did just that, making 18-of-32 field goals including two powerful dunks. Tianjin’s Zhang Nan tried to keep pace with the American but tonight was Chandler’s show and a A-list performance from Guangsha forward sealed the deal for his side and helped his side see off an unexpectedly plucky opposition. Continue reading “CBA Round Up: Round 1”