Scouting Report: Tianjin Lions (0-1)

Following the loss to Beijing, its time for a visit to Tianjin where Shanghai will take on a Lions team that has been reliably awful for as long as it has existed. A week ago, this would have seemed like an easy win for Shanghai. However without Gilbert Arenas- whose groin injury will almost certainly mean he’ll miss the game according to local media reports- suddenly the Sharks look like they might have a real fight on their hands. Continue reading “Scouting Report: Tianjin Lions (0-1)”

Web Chat V: Play-Offs, CBA All-Stars And The Magic Of Marbury

With regular web-chatter, Ned Bothfeld out of the country, Niubball head honcho and all-round Chinese basketball sage, Jon Pastuszek steps in from the cold Chinese winter for a monster discussion on Starbury’s triple-double, who is and isn’t going to be playing in the CBA post season and discussing some memorable matches so far this season. Continue reading “Web Chat V: Play-Offs, CBA All-Stars And The Magic Of Marbury”

Jilin Tigers 95 – Shanghai Sharks 82: Red Hot Daghles Leads Tigers To Victory

Well I guess it was going to happen eventually but having seen the Sharks overcome Guangsha Lions in heroic fashion on Sunday, I was expecting Shanghai to make it to Friday with their winning streak intact before maybe losing it to Liaoning or Guangdong, but evidently Osama Daghles didn’t get the memo and took centre stage in a swaggering takedown of the Sharks. The Jordanian put up a triple-double on his way to leading the Tigers to a 95-82 win and Jilin were good value for their win. Continue reading “Jilin Tigers 95 – Shanghai Sharks 82: Red Hot Daghles Leads Tigers To Victory”

Scouting Report: Jilin Tigers

Having beaten the Guangsha Lions in Hangzhou, the Sharks will now travel to Changchun on Wednesday hoping for another home and away sweep with victory against the Jilin Tigers. Shanghai won 85-67 when the Tigers visited the Yuanshen back in early December and the Sharks will be looking for more of the same against a side that currently has an 8-13 record with seven of those wins coming at home.

Jilin’s star player is the former Washington Wizards forward, Cartier Martin, who is currently averaging 26.1 ppg. His partner in crime is the crafty Jordanian point guard, Osama Daghlas, whose 17.2 ppg and league leading 7.6 apg mark him out as someone who can make baskets as well as shoot them. The powerful centre Jameel Watkins (16.2ppg) is the last of the Tigers’ legitimate threats and beyond their overseas trio, there isn’t a lot to get excited about now that their promising young point guard Yu Shulong has been relegated to the bench.

With the wind well and truly in their sails, the Sharks have to dispatch the Tigers with the same ruthlessness they deployed against Guangsha. Tricky away visits to Benxi (to play Liaoning Innovators), Urumqi (Xinjiang Tigers) and Beijing are still to come so the Sharks need to handle their business against teams like Jilin, and keep the momentum going as the play offs loom closer and closer.

Shanghai Sharks 85 – Jilin Tigers 67

Occasionally spellbinding, sometimes hard on the eyes; tonight’s victory against Jilin Tigers was a mixture of poetry and uppercuts as Shanghai Sharks crashed the boards and chased down their opponents when they had to but still found the time to dazzle the crowd when the opportunity presented itself.

From the start, Shanghai seemed in control and via the quick hands of Peng Fei and Liu Wei, quickly opened up a lead that the Sharks never lost. Mike Harris came on for Ryan Forehan-Kelly (hereby known as RFK to prevent the constant abuse of my hyphen key) at the start of the second quarter and quickly made a small lead something far more substantial. The Sharks led 42-23 at the break.

Emerging after the interval, Jilin’s duo of troublemakers, high-scoring forward, Cartier Martin, and courtside general, Jordanian point guard, Osama Daghlas, probably didn’t expect to be 42-23 down or anticipate what was to come shortly.

Indeed, at times during the third quarter I was reminded of playing an old Street Fighter game, specifically when you hit the buttons in the right order and made something awesome  happen. In this insistence, the combination of Lui, Harris and RFK produced the same effect and Coach Panaggio will have savoured the flashes of magic from the sidelines as his team continued to handle their business with more than a little touch of swagger.

To their credit, Jilin kept on fighting until the very end but it was effectively for pride alone. The game seemed decided well before the fourth quarter thanks to the earlier outbreak of blistering shooting, and the Sharks were content to slow the game down amidst the boisterous noise from the home fans.

When the final buzzer came, Shanghai could celebrate another victory, this time to the score of 85-67. Harris finished with 28 points and 22 rebounds, RFK made 16 points with seven rebounds whilst Liu (14), Peng and Zhang Zhaoxu (both 10 points) all scored in double figures.

Sunday may well be different but the Sharks felt reborn tonight, albeit under a passionate home crowd.The Sharks will obviously lose again but for now at least, two compelling victories on the trot give both hope and momentum to a side that this time last week had none of either.

Photo: sports.sina.com.cn

Scouting Notes: Jilin Tigers

Having overcome Guangsha Lions, the next team on the list for the Shanghai Sharks will be the Jillin Tigers, who are currently sitting tight at the top half of the table with a 3-2 record for their troubles.

Jillin will arrive in Shanghai with the psycological advantage of having beaten all three of the sides that Shanghai failed to beat on their recent error-prone road trip.

Among the Tigers making the trip down from North-East China will be Cartier Martin, who is averaging 28 points a game and is Jillin’s main scoring outlet. The Sharks will also be aware of Jilin’s Jordianian pointguard Osama Dahglas, in part because he leads the league in assists-per-game (9), but mostly because he has an impressively badass name.

I would reluctantly make Jillin favourites due the simple fact that they have done a better job of actually winning games and their squad as a whole has shared out the responsability of moving the scoreboard along better*. That said, Ryan Kelly and Mike Harris looked formidable against Guangsha and if Panaggio can get them working in such an impressive tandem in the second half again, Shanghai should look at this game as a further step towards redemption. Right now, Shanghai can ride the wave that comes with a win in front of a home crowd but if 1-3 doesn’t become 2-3 by the end of Friday night, things return to square one once again. Keeping Dahglas from running the game would be a start but finding the right balance between containing both him and Martin will be this week’s headache for Coach Panaggio.

*=Disclaimer: Changchun-based basketball isn’t big on Shanghainese television so I’m going on scorecards right now.