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Bothfeld: Jin Lipeng more than just a spark off the bench

Post by Edward Bothfeld 

January 12, 2012

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)

Video courtesy of NBA247365.com

There is no doubt that Guangsha’s Round 23 bye came at an ideal time. Currently in third place, the Lions have lost three of their last four, and like most professional basketball teams, their players are nursing various injuries and ailments. For Jin Lipeng, the five-day break between games is incredibly important. Now 33 years old, the 6’3 guard is the oldest player on the team and is playing in his 14th CBA season. In the basketball world, he is a senior citizen.

That said, Jin is a major piece to the Guangsha puzzle and has a defined role: to score. Fortunately, this is a role Jin excels in at this stage in his career. He enters most games at the beginning of the second quarter, when star forward Wilson Chandler is on the bench. With Chandler out, Guangsha relies on Jin and center P.J. Ramos to carry the offense, which they do, often immediately looking for their shots.

Coach Jim Cleamons recognizes Jin’s value, “He’s been a real spark off the bench and provided some much needed offense and much needed leadership with the second unit.”

Cleamons is also cognizant of Jin’s age and picks his spots to play him in the second half. Unlike his other players, who he will simply tell they are going in, he asks Jin if he has the energy to play more. “Do you have any bullets left?” Cleamons will ask him.

“I try not to over-coach him. He has tremendous faith in his shot. I try to put him into situations that allows him to do what he does best.” said Cleamons, after Jin hit a game-winning buzzer beater on January 4th against Shandong.

Jin is currently Guangsha’s fourth leading scorer, averaging 11 points per game. After him, there is a sharp drop to Zhang Wei, who scores 6.8 points per contest. What’s striking is that Jin does all of his work in only 17.9 minutes per game, which ranks 8th on the team in playing time.

Looking at his game-log, these 17.9 minutes are critical to Guangsha’s success:

Minutes Points >11 points <11 points
Wins 19.8 12.9 6 8
Losses 13.8 7.1 5 2

As you can see, Guangsha fairs much better when Jin is in the game and producing. Ultimately, Guangsha’s success for the rest of the season and playoffs rests upon the shoulders of Wilson Chandler and P.J. Ramos. But if they have any hopes of making a serious run at the championship, Jin Lipeng will have to have some bullets cocked and ready to fire.

Follow Edward Bothfeld on Twitter @bothfeef

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