CBA Roundup: Guangdong rallies past Shenzhen for 6th straight win, Xinjiang snaps skid******
ZHUJI, China, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Veteran center Yi Jianlian made a return as the Guangdong Southern Tigers repeated their season-opening victory over the Shenzhen Aviators 106-90 to start the 2021-22 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season with six wins in a row here on Thursday.
The previously sluggish Xinjiang Flying Tigers also achieved a huge comeback in the second half to dispatch the Shanxi Loongs 101-93.
Guangdong won the season opener between the two sides 106-83 on Oct. 16, when Yi contributed 16 points in less than eight minutes of play in his first regular-season match in 427 days.
Yi, who turned 34 on Wednesday, finished with eight points in over 17 minutes on Thursday after a four-game absence. Another veteran Zhou Peng shot 9 of 13 from the floor and led Guangdong with 24 points. Hu Mingxuan and Zhao Rui each had 19. Ren Junfei recorded a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
After turning the ball over in his first possession, Yi constantly attacked the basket and scored three points before being substituted. Zhou stepped up and took control of the game with eight points. But Shenzhen capitalized on Guangdong's seven turnovers in the first quarter to speed into the leading position with a 13-1 surge on the way to a 25-24 margin at the quarter's conclusion.
With Yi sitting on the bench, Guangdong could not restrain Shenzhen center Shen Zijie quite well in the paint, and Gu Quan and Askia Booker also provided much firepower for Shenzhen beyond the arc. Shenzhen's lead ballooned to double digits with a 10-0 spurt midway through the second quarter. Guangdong gave away many rebounds down the stretch, and Shenzhen made the most of it to set up a 59-48 halftime lead.
Shen got his fifth foul soon after the break, which reduced Shenzhen's defensive intensity. Despite the interruption of the game by fouls now and then, Guangdong kick-started their rally through consecutive free throws and outscored Shenzhen 32-18 in the third quarter to turn the tide.
As Shenzhen suffered a dismal shooting performance in the decisive period, the defending champions sailed to their sixth straight win.
"At the start, we were a little floppy in defense and had a low shooting percentage. In the second half, we did well on the defensive end without conceding too many rebounds," said Guangdong head coach Du Feng, adding that he planned to give Yi less than 20 minutes of action at a current stage to slowly get into the rhythm of a long season and avoid further injuries.
Booker scored a game-high 25 points while shooting 8 of 29 from the field. Rong Zifeng was the other Shenzhen player that made double figures with 13 points.
Shanxi led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter before going ahead 51-36 at the intermission, but with Abdusalam Abdurexit and Tang Caiyu leading the way, Xinjiang made a strong comeback and made it an even game with a 16-0 run in the third quarter, and didn't relinquish their superior position from there.
"We played totally different two halves," admitted Xinjiang head coach Adiljan. "After a messy and mistake-prone first half, we got back our normal defensive system and offensive rhythm to take the game in our hand point by point."
Abdusalam Abdurexit notched a match-leading 29 points but hobbled off the court late in the game. Xinjiang spread the scoring around, with the other five players hitting double figures.
On the Shanxi side, Kay Felder registered 28 points to go along with eight rebounds and 11 assists.
Guo Ailun had 30 points and dished out nine assists, becoming one of six Liaoning Flying Leopards players who cracked double figures in a 114-103 victory over the Nanjing Monkey Kings, handing the latter their third straight loss.
Rookie Zhang Dianliang scored 13 points, including a second-chance basket in the dying seconds, as the Sichuan Blue Whales edged the Tianjin Pioneers 96-94.
Also on Thursday, Zhu Xuhang and Cheng Shuaipeng had 23 points apiece as the Zhejiang Golden Bulls went past the Fujian Sturgeons 100-90, and the Beijing Royal Fighters beat the Shandong Heroes 105-95 through Zhang Fan's 33 points. Enditem