Published: 09:46, May 18, 2024
Liaoning Leopards take 2-0 lead over Xinjiang Tigers in CBA Finals
By Xinhua
Dominique Jones (front left) of Xinjiang Flying Tigers goes for a lay-up during the game 2 between Liaoning Flying Leopards and Xinjiang Flying Tigers at 2023-2024 season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league finals in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, May 17, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

SHENYANG - Kyle Fogg's stellar 34-point performance led the Liaoning Flying Leopards to a 97-86 victory over the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, giving them a comfortable 2-0 lead in the 2023-2024 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league final series.

Xinjiang briefly seized the lead in the final quarter when Qi Lin sunk two free throws, putting his team ahead 80-78. However, Liaoning, spurred by Fogg and other sharpshooters, quickly regained control with crucial baskets.

"Our shooters came through in the clutch moments with their big shots," said Liaoning head coach Yang Ming.

"We did well in rebounding and played tough defense," he added.

In Game 1, Xinjiang, trailing by over twenty points, managed to take an 11-3 lead in the opening quarter. However, Fogg's impressive play, including two crucial 3-pointers, helped Liaoning claw back. A buzzer-beater shot by Li Xiaoxu closed the first quarter with Liaoning trailing narrowly at 32-31

Liaoning dominated the boards with a 55-49 rebounding advantage, while Xinjiang struggled from beyond the arc, making only six of 31 attempts.

The victory extended Liaoning's CBA finals winning streak to ten games, having swept the past two seasons' finals series with perfect 4-0 records.

In Game 1, Xinjiang, trailing by over twenty points, managed to take an 11-3 lead in the opening quarter. However, Fogg's impressive play, including two crucial 3-pointers, helped Liaoning claw back. A buzzer-beater shot by Li Xiaoxu closed the first quarter with Liaoning trailing narrowly at 32-31.

ALSO READ: Liaoning beats Xinjiang to lead 1-0 in 2023-24 CBA finals

Kyle Fogg (center) of Liaoning Flying Leopards is blocked during the game 2 between Liaoning Flying Leopards and Xinjiang Flying Tigers at 2023-2024 season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league finals in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, May 17, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Xinjiang faltered in the second quarter, failing to convert any of their five attempts beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Fogg led Liaoning's charge, scoring ten points in the period as Liaoning extended its lead to 57-46 by halftime.

Despite efforts from Xinjiang, Liaoning maintained control in the third quarter, with center Han Dejun's contributions helping them to a 77-67 lead.

In the final quarter, Xinjiang briefly took a two-point lead, but Liaoning responded with a decisive 10-2 run to regain control.

"When we led by two in the final quarter, our players showed their lack of experience," said Qiu Biao, Xinjiang's head coach.

Zhao Jiwei (center) of Liaoning Flying Leopards is fouled by Yu Dehao of Xinjiang Flying Tigers during the game 2 between Liaoning Flying Leopards and Xinjiang Flying Tigers at 2023-2024 season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league finals in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, May 17, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Liaoning's forward Fu Hao scored 18 points, while Zhao Jiwei contributed 13 points, eight assists, and four steals.

"We still have to improve our offense in Game 3," said Yang. "We have to focus on the details and put pressure on our opponent."

Xinjiang's Qi had a team-high 17 points but made only one three-pointer out of nine attempts.

"I encourage my players to enjoy the finals," said Qiu. "I still have full confidence in our guys."

READ MORE: Xinjiang eliminates Zhejiang to reach CBA finals

Game 3 is scheduled for next Monday in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.