Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Guangdong Tigers vs. Bayi Rockets

I was extremely disappointed when real life imposed on Saturday night, meaning I could not see the opening game of the new CBA season. And what a game it was. This is NBA equivalent of the Spurs and the Mavs facing off in the season opener. It's even serious enough that Jonas Kazlauskas came along to see it.

Anyway, down to the game. To my complete un-surprise, Wang ZhiZhi and Yi Jianlian battled it out with each filling the stats sheet (if there were fantasy leagues for the CBA, their owners would be celebrating). Yi had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and Wang had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. From the stats and from the final score, you can see that Yi had the better of Wang. This confirmed by almost-sure conviction that Yi was better than Wang. Why is this important? Well, it's not really, but it proves that Yi is better than an NBA scrub, which is what Wang is. Minimum, Yi be playing on the active roster during his NBA career, unlike Wang who was on the injured reserve the majority of his playing days.

However, one thing I was somewhat surprised by was the play of Chen Jianghua. He missed all three shots, and had two turnovers in nine minutes. In a way, it was a surprise, because I know his talent is above almost everyone else, but then again, it's not so much of a surprise. A couple of weeks ago I said "Chen's playing style...rubs against the traditional guys." Guangdong is a championship team, and for the coach of Guangdong (Li Qun), to put someone like Chen into the lineup, who could disrupt their offense, lose and game, and therefore ruin their season (in a 28-game season, every game is important), would be suicidal. Their fans would murder him, the players would revolt, and the management would eventually fire him. So, he didn't risk it. Terrence Greene (one of the Tigers imported players) played 30 minutes and Liu Xiaoyu played 19.

That strategy by Li is very different from what Kazlauakas did with the national team. Kazlauskas, having coached the Lithuanian national team, knows how China needs to play and who they need to play to be able to compete in the big leagues. So, in the World Championships, he gave Chen a chance to prove himself, and he definitely did. Guangdong's coach did not. However, even if Chen's lack of play wasn't his fault, his zero points and two turnovers didn't do any good. Maybe Li Qun will never play him, but that type of game definitely won't help his cause.

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