Thursday, January 19, 2012

Starbury had the best game of his CBA career last night

Stephon Marbury scored 45 points. Grabbed 12 rebounds. Decided to pass a few times and get 10 assists. Swiped three (felt like more).

The Beijing Ducks should have gotten blown out by J.R. Smith's team (Zhejiang CyclonesGolden Bulls, if you're wondering, though "J.R. Smith's team" is more accurate). Instead, they came back from seven down with 7 minutes to play to win 102-93.

Smith, who took the lockout gambit and lost (his contract with the CBA has no opt-out clause, so he's stuck till the season ends in March), is currently leading the league in scoring with 33.8 points per game, so I thought I'd chart all his shots. The last time these teams played, in Zhejiang, Beijing head coach Min Lulei said, "Our strategy was to let Smith get his points and stop everyone else." I figured he could've been good for 50 (also, this). But midway through the third quarter I realized it was Marbury I should've been tracking.

The former Shanxi Brave Dragon and Foshan Dralion drained a three at the end of the 3rd quarter to bring the Beijing Ducks to within five, 79-74. WIth just under seven to play in the game, with his team trailing by seven, he drove the lane and drew a foul, prompting a Beijing TV commentator to note, "Marbury is the Beijing offense right now." A couple possessions later, on defense, he poked a ball away from a CycloneGolden Bull, then drained another three to pull the Ducks to within 88-86. Soon after, he stole the ball, dished to a teammate, then rebounded his teammate's miss and put it back to tie the game at 88.

From there, Smith -- who finished with a healthy 39 on 14-of-25 shooting -- went cold, and the Ducks begin to pull away (also thanks to Beijing's other foreign player [each team can have two], Randolph Morris).

Watch the entire game here.

The Ducks are now back alone in second place.

POSTSCRIPT 1: There's a video featuring J.R. Smith that's currently uploading onto YouTube that you'll want to come back for. ETA couple hours. UPDATE: Here.

POSTSCRIPT 2: JR Smith vs. Beijing Ducks, January 18, 2012:

1st quarter
8:40 remaining: long jumper from top of key, 2 pts
5:54: a couple crossovers and a silky jump shot, 4 pts
5:24: drive to basket, fouled on dunk attempt; 2-2 FT, 6 pts
4:02: crossover blow-by, bumped on way to basket, converts layup; 1-1 FT, 9 pts
3:00: Fouled while dribbling beyond three-point line, Beijing over limit; 1-2 FT (he front-rims the first, and the crowd goes, "Oooh"), 10 pts
2:05: Fouled again, by different defender; 2-2 FT, 12 pts
1:39: Ahead of pack, fast-break layup, 14 pts
:57: Step-back long J nothing but net. Commentator says something that I'll translate as, "He's got mad skills." 16 pts

2nd quarter
9:21: 2v1 fast-break (the 1 is Marbury): Smith passes behind his back, but his teammate doesn't make the layup; Smith taps in put-back, 18 pts
8:35: Hard into lane, 20 pts

7:49: Smith takes his first break of the game as the commentator talks about how much he's exerting himself and how fast his stamina has been drained. Because the CBA only allows foreigners to play a combined six quarters -- and because Zhejiang's other foreigner, Josh Boone (yes, the one from UCONN), needs some PT as well -- Smith doesn't return to the game until the second half.

3rd quarter
10:05: Smith drains a three to put Zhejiang up 53-49, 23 pts
6:59: Drains another three, Zhejiang up 61-56. "It's raining," one of the commentators says. "His shot is too accurate." The other commentator notes Smith has 28 points, but that's not right - I have him pegged for 26.
5:52: His third trey of the quarter, 29 pts: (the commentator confirms this)
In Beijing's team huddle, coach tells his team to guard Smith's jump shot.
1:23: Smith slices into lane, breezes by or through four defenders, gets fouled and converts layup. "Pretty," commentator says. "That's what we call ability." 1-1 FT, 32 pts
:48: Plows into lane again and puts in a floater. "He's playing crazy," commentator says (translation is literal). 34 pts

4th quarter
4:28: Smith knocks down a three with the shot clock winding down, 37 pts

He scores two more at some point, but my focus has shifted by then.

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