Shark Fin Hoops CBA Play-Off Preview: Semi Finals

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Guangdong Tigers (1) vs Beijing Ducks (3)

Shit, as they say, is about to get very real. It only took three games for Beijing to walk straight through Jilin (and its also worth stressing that the starters were rested for the second half of the final game) whilst Guangdong needed four attempts to put a plucky but outmatched Dongguan to the sword. Ultimately though, things went as expected and the holders of the last combined eight CBA titles will now face off for the third time in the last four years. Continue reading “Shark Fin Hoops CBA Play-Off Preview: Semi Finals”

Shark Fin Hoops Indepth CBA Play-Off Preview: Quarter Finals

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Its play-off time in the Chinese Basketball Association, which, to the league’s credit, has become more and more exciting with every season. This year, it’s an interesting mix between old hands like Guangdong, Beijing and Xinjiang and new faces like Qingdao and Jilin. The structure is fairly simple; 1st vs. 8th, 2nd vs 7th and so on, until the two remaining teams from both sides of the eight seed bracket face off in a best of seven Finals. Games start on Febuary 6th but it makes sense to first break down who is in the postseason and how they might fare.

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#1 Seed: Guangdong Tigers (34-4)

For the fourth season in a row, the Tigers have finished the regular season atop of the standings. But this time around, they finished with their best ever record in the modern CBA era and won twenty-six games in a row. After initially deciding that they wanted to get younger with Emmanuel Mudiay, now it looks like Guangdong have decided to rely on veterans. Mudiay has been watching things from the sidelines since December and in his place Will Bynum (21.4ppg, 7.4apg) handles the ball whilst Yi Jianlian (27.4ppg), Zhu Fangyu (18.9ppg including 47% from downtown) and Wang Shipeng (45% from downtown) space the floor and wait for the defense to panic. Yet the big question is still the same; can the Tigers win the title again after a period of relative inconsistency (one title in three seasons having previous won seven out of eight CBA Finals between 2004-2011)? On paper, you would say ‘of course, idiot’ but this is an older team that found themselves bested in last year’s semi-finals by a Beijing side with both street smarts AND youth on their side. A year on from that painful loss, the Tigers would once again face Beijing for the third CBA postseason in four years should both teams make it to the semi-finals and the Ducks are leading the ongoing series 2-0.  If and when that scenario happens, it may well be this Guangdong roster’s Waterloo moment. Continue reading “Shark Fin Hoops Indepth CBA Play-Off Preview: Quarter Finals”

Stephon Marbury Isn’t Making New Friends In China- Not That He Cares Anyway

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The impression of Stephon Marbury in the West tends to be that he is universally popular in China. This is true to a certain extent in Beijing and the Ducks’ point guard has been well received for trying to live like a local in the capital city. Using the metro to get around the city or attending Beijing Guoan games might be seen by some as a PR exercise but they still represent a man who is trying to be part of his local community. Washington DC native Kevin Durant has no natural links to Oklahoma City but still goes out of his way to seem invested in OKC. Pretending to care is part of life as a top level pro athlete and the simple fact that Marbury is doing that in Beijing adds legitimacy to the Ducks and the CBA as a whole.

Having made it clear he loves Beijing, the city has quickly embraced the American as one of its’ own. Marbury obviously has been feted with that statue and that cheesy musical but he has also been asked to coach at the Rising Star game at a CBA All-Star weekend, which underlines his credibility within the league’s front office itself. But just because Beijing loves him, it doesn’t mean that the rest of China feels the same way. Continue reading “Stephon Marbury Isn’t Making New Friends In China- Not That He Cares Anyway”

Heads Look Set To Roll At Panicking Xinjiang

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The oft used quote that those who don’t learn from their history are only doomed to repeat it seems particularly apt in Xinjiang right now. The Tigers, forever looking to win their first ever CBA title, once again broke out the checkbook early on in the year to build up star-studded line-up. Liu Wei, Cao Fei, Zhou Qi, Jordan Crawford and Andray Blatche all arrived at the start of the year and yet the team is 9-4 when they were expecting to be 13-0. The reality is that in the industrial city of Urumqi, it is title or bust and their constantly anxious fan base is now once again calling for something to be done to get the team back on track. Continue reading “Heads Look Set To Roll At Panicking Xinjiang”

The CBA Week In Brief: Bayi, Stephon Marbury And The Undoubtable Talent Of Schoolboy Zhou

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Another round of games, another week of story lines. This time around its the struggles of a CBA legend, one of China’s oldest teams in turmoil, another mishandling a young star and China’s next great big man is emerging on the horizon in Xinjiang.

Continue reading “The CBA Week In Brief: Bayi, Stephon Marbury And The Undoubtable Talent Of Schoolboy Zhou”

The CBA Week In Brief: Dominique Jones, Josh Harrelson, Emmanuel Mudiay And Wild Scoring Numbers

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With the first week of the CBA in the books, its time to go over this first batch of games and extract the story lines and key issues that have emerged. A new scoring champion may well have announced himself in northern China, rebounding might suddenly be cool in the south-east and wherever a game is getting played in the CBA, the standard of defending is probably very, very bad.

Continue reading “The CBA Week In Brief: Dominique Jones, Josh Harrelson, Emmanuel Mudiay And Wild Scoring Numbers”

Foreigners And The Fourth Quarter; Making Sense Of The New CBA Rule Change

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Consider it official. After a lot of speculation, the Chinese Basketball Association will once again change its rules about the participation of foreign players in the league as it looks to shift the league away from American hero ball and towards a style of play that will involve local players more often.

Previously, teams were allowed to play both their foreigners for a combined six quarters, meaning each split a quarter in the first half and then play for the whole of the second. Under new proposals that will be applied with immediate effect, only one foreigner will be allowed to play for the fourth quarter. Both foreigners will be able to play but they will have to sub out for one-another. Continue reading “Foreigners And The Fourth Quarter; Making Sense Of The New CBA Rule Change”

Zhu Fangyu Becomes The CBA’s Newest Summer Scandal

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Zhu Fangyu, the all-time leading scorer in the Chinese Basketball Association and a cornerstone of his country’s national team is probably wishing he could stay in America indefinitely right now. The small forward, part of the Guangdong Tigers team that has won eight CBA titles in eleven years, is currently training stateside whilst back in China, a lurid scandal involving himself, his now ex-wife and a third woman continues to gain momentum.

Continue reading “Zhu Fangyu Becomes The CBA’s Newest Summer Scandal”

Wang Xingquan, The Magnificent Bastard Of Chinese Basketball Rides Again

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Few owners in the CBA have given league administrators as many sleepless nights as Wang Xingquan. The personification of the Chinese ‘da laoban’ (‘big boss’), it seemed at times that Wang was actively looking for ways to piss people off. If the league could have put a hit out on him, they probably would have done.

Things though have been quiet for the last year. Having sold the ownership of his old team, the Shanxi Dragons, to a group of Chinese investors, Wang seemed destined to fade into obscurity and perhaps become a humorous aside from the old days of the CBA. However, those hopes appear to have been dashed if Sina Sport is to be believed; ‘The Chinese Cuban is Back!’, it thundered. To the presumed horror of league officials, Boss Wang has indeed resurfaced in his home province of Henan, busily establishing a team to compete in next year’s National Basketball League, essentially the second tier of Chinese basketball.

Continue reading “Wang Xingquan, The Magnificent Bastard Of Chinese Basketball Rides Again”