Saturday, December 27, 2008
Beijing (14-7) needed just one more win this year to clinch at least a fourth-place regular season finish and a guaranteed home advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Shanghai (4-17) was hoping that they wouldn't finish dead last in the league. Zhejiang lost 89-48 to Liaoning, so both sides get their wish as Beijing wins 77-74 on the road to clinch their spot.
Beijing's last game is December 30th against Hayao (12-9) at home. If they win and Jiangsu (14-7) loses to Guangdong (11-10) on the road, then Beijing would slip into third place to finish the season.
The translated (for now) boxscore is here.
You have to give this game to Beijing - they really wanted it. Beijing came out ice cold and was held to only nine points at the end of the first quarter, down 22-9. However, Beijing immediately began to close the gap and hold Shanghai to 11 second-quarter points. At halftime, Shanghai could only take a 34-33 lead into the break. Shanghai began to tighten their defense, and managed to hit the final three shots of the third quarter to lead 57-53 after three quarters.
Jennifer Lacy, however, provided "frequently in Shanghai manufacturing team insider threats" and the Beijing team took the lead in the last four minutes. In the end, Shanghai was forced to foul and hope for the best, but they let it slip away.
Shanghai had a great shooting game, hitting 52 percent of their shots and 56 percent of their inside shots. Unfortunately for Shanghai, Beijing hit 54 percent of their total shots and 60 percent of their inside shots. Both teams rebounded fairly evenly, and had the same number of turnovers. Shanghai, however, would send Beijing to the free throw line 21 times and Beijing would go 19-for-21, the real key to Beijing's victory.
Feng Yi scored 22 points and had six assists for Beijing. The pair of untranslatable characters known as "焦岚" scored 17 points and four rebounds, and Zeng Meiling scored 11 points for Shanghai.
There were three breakout players for Beijing - Zhang Lin scored 26 points and eight rebounds and Zhang Fan had 15 points and also picked up eight rebounds. Jennifer Lacy would score 19 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and hitting all seven of her free throw attempts.