Gassed up for the second half

Updated: 2013-01-08 02:35

By Stephon Marbury(China Daily)

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I hope you are just as excited as my Beijing Ducks teammates and I about the second half of the CBA season.

The first half officially ended on Thursday, the day after New Year.

It's funny. I was just thinking that we finished at the halfway mark with the same record as we did last season. But what a difference a year makes.

During the midway point of the 2011-12 season, we were 13-3. We made history by winning 13 games in a row. Then we lost our next seven out of eight.

This season, we have that very same record at the halfway mark. The only difference is our losses came at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

I'm pretty sure we were defeated early on because teams were prepared and determined to beat us, especially now that we are the CBA champs.

I never thought I would say this, but this season has been more challenging than probably any of my other three CBA seasons. Still, it has been just as much fun, if not more.

Our coaching staff and players are really enjoying preparing for games as our biggest challenge is understanding how to overcome the different types of defense thrown at us.

So far, we counter with a very strategic and precise plan of attack. Also, during our daily meetings, I suggest how and why I think the regular season is so vital in positioning us in the playoffs.

We must be ready for our opponents who are definitely ready for us. They have used tactic after tactic trying to stop us. Fortunately, we are finding ways to outsmart the competition, and end up with the win.

We can credit winning the past CBA title in helping us learn how to play at this high level. It's tough playing like that now because the atmosphere isn't the same during the playoffs as it is during the regular season. But it is what it is.

There were 16 games left at the beginning of the second half of this season, which started last week. But then we lost a tough home game on Sunday and now our record is 14-4 and we are in second place, behind Guangdong. I will have more on our last game in a minute.

I first want to talk about what I think is our biggest challenge for the second half of the season. If we remain poised, focused and committed to executing our game plan then we should be fine. Please pray that we do.

Now, more on our most recent loss which was at home to Jilin Northeast Tigers on Sunday. It was a tough defeat as we didn't play well at the beginning of the game and got off to a slow start.

Unfortunately, we never gained control of the clash. I had four turnovers. In one quarter alone, we turned the ball over nine times. It's hard to beat anyone with that many turnovers so early in a game.

Tonight, we have a nationally-televised game on CCTV5 against a strong team in Liaoning. We will be ready for this next home game, especially since we did not play well on Sunday.

We hope you come cheer us on in person or at least tune in to the game on TV. We really need your support.

Love is love.



Stephon Marbury can be reached at