Li Tianrong (center) of Shanghai Sharks shoots the ball during the semifinal match between Shanghai Sharks and Zhejiang Lions at the 2021-2022 season of the Chinese Basketball Association league in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi province, April 13, 2022. (PENG ZHAOZHI / XINHUA)
NANCHANG - Sun Minghui shone in the last quarter to lead the Zhejiang Lions to defeat the Shanghai Sharks 108-93 in their first game of the best-of-five semifinals in the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs in Nanchang on Wednesday.
Zhejiang has benefited from Sun, Hu Jinqiu, and other domestic players' performances in recent years, while Shanghai's investment paid off this regular season by ranking third after the arrival of Jamaal Franklin and former MVP Wang Zhelin
Zhejiang has benefited from Sun, Hu Jinqiu, and other domestic players' performances in recent years, while Shanghai's investment paid off this regular season by ranking third after the arrival of Jamaal Franklin and former MVP Wang Zhelin.
With Zhao Yanhao and Zhao Jiaren's three-pointers, Zhejiang enjoyed a 12-0 streak to finish the first quarter leading by five points. Wang Zhelin, who led Shanghai in average points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in the previous series against Shenzhen, was limited to two points by Hu and Jahlil Okafor in the paint.
Leading by six into the halftime interval, Zhejiang extended the advantage to 13 points before Shanghai cut the deficit to two at the end of the third quarter. The two teams exchanged leads in the last period before Sun took control.
With less than five minutes on the clock, the point guard shot a three-pointer to build a two-digit lead for Zhejiang, before adding a layup and an assist to Hu. Sun fired two more three-pointers after Shanghai's timeout to secure the win for Zhejiang.
"In games of this level, the fewer mistakes you make, the more possibilities you have to win. Hopefully, I can continue to encourage my teammates to continue playing as one," said Sun after the game.
Sun harvested a game-high 27 points and 11 assists. Okafor contributed a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Hu added 22 points. Liu Zheng led Shanghai with 17 points.
The next game will be played on Friday night.
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