Xinjiang takes one game back in CBA finals
Updated: 2014-03-24 15:18
James Singleton of Xinjiang Guanghui jumps for a shot during their best-of-seven Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) finals against Beijing Ducks in Beijing, March 23, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
"I told our players to enjoy the game and play as what we are, and those guys did well on that," said Cui Wanjun, Xinjiang's head coach.
Foreign duo of Xinjiang shone in front of 18,000 fans in Mastercard Center, as Lester Hudson finished with game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. James Singleton added 17 points and 18 boards. Shirelijan and Tang Zhengdong helped with 19 and 16 points respectively.
Shirelijan opened the visitors' attack with a layup, helping his team build a 5-1 lead, while Beijing responded with a 12-4 run, led by Stephon Marbury's eight points in a row. Xinjiang led by 24-22 after the first quarter.
After taking a three-point lead into the halftime, Xinjiang had six straight points, forcing the opponents in a timeout. However, the rhythm was still in Xinjiang's hand, fueled by Su Wei and Hudson's consecutive three-point plays.
Beijing once cut the deficit within five points early in the last 12 minutes, while recording a foul-out on Ji Zhe. Shirelijan took another crucial shot behind the arc with 3:55 to play to extend Xinjiang's margin to nine points.
Thinking that there is no hope of coming back into the game, many home fans left their seats with just one minute to go.
Xinjiang outrebounded Beijing 61-44. In terms of offensive rebound, Xinjiang also led by 29-15.
"They played better. They got 29 more extra shots, but we only had 15. Bottom line we got to do a better job, and we didn't shoot the ball pretty well," said Randolph Morris, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Marbury had 23 points, eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Li Gen scored 12 points.
"We lost our toughness, which is necessary in playing against Xinjiang. Our defense is good, but not the offense," Beijing's head coach Min Lulei said.
Game 4 of this series will be held next Wednesday, also in the Mastercard Center in Beijing.