Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This is one of those games that you'd be embarassed to lose. Imagine that you show up to play a team - let's call it "Liaoyang" (8-10) - that only dresses six players. Furthermore, only four of their players actually score in the game. Whereas you - let's call you "Beijing" (11-7) - are able to play nine players to their six. And you're the better team. And yet, you lose, on the road, by three points.
The translated boxscore is here. (I wonder if it's an Internet Explorer thing - the box score translated first time automatically in Firefox.)
The quarter-by-quarter score indicates a back and forth game. After one quarter, Liaoyang is up 13-11 but they only lead by a point at halftime, 29-28. Liaoyang manages to extend the lead to five points after three quarters (40-35) and manages to keep the visitors at arm's length.
How did they do it? Liaoyang outshot Beijing 46 percent to 37 percent, but that's not the whole story. Beijing tried twenty-four 3-point shots and only hit seven of them. Zhou Honghua went 1-for-5 from behind the arc. Zhang Fan went 2-for-9. Jennifer Lacy did a little better, going 2-for-3.
Beijing won the battle of offensive rebounding - 10 of their 27 rebounds were off the offensive glass. Each team had similar turnovers. Unfortunately, Beijing sent Liaoyang to the line 16 times and Liaoyang hit 15 of their shots.
Why was Beijing trying to win this game strictly on the basis of the three pointer when they could have simply muscled the starting six out of the game? We may never know.
Of the six Liaoyang players, two didn't score. The other four, not surprisingly, scored in double figures. Zhang Lan Han scored 23 points. Liu Dan scored 19 and the mysterious "Song Peacekeeping Force" scored 13. Zhao Shuang came close to a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Zhang Fan scored 19 points and six rebounds for Beijing. Zhang Wei scored 14 points but also fouled out of the game. Jennifer Lacy might have had the second best game for Beijing, scoring 10 points and six rebounds in a losing effort.
Will we know the mysterious secret of the Liaoyang-Beijing game? Probably not.