The San Antonio Spurs are hurting as they prepare for the NBA Playoffs which start on April 20, so they’ve decided to sign a player whose hurt them in the past: Tracy McGrady.
As announced yesterday, the 15-year NBA veteran, who played this season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Qingdao Eagles, has signed a deal for the rest of the season, including the soon-approaching post-season.
Though the move is surprising given its timing, it does have some logic. It is no surprise that coach Gregg Popovich often rest his top players from time to time and Monday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors was a given as he looks to give them much needed rest before starting what they hope to be a deep playoff run.
A week has passed since the Guangdong Southern Tigers captured their eighth Chinese Basketball Association title with a 4-0 series win over the upstart Shandong Gold Lions to place themselves alongside the Bayi Rockets with the most titles in the CBA’s short history.
After a stunning loss to the Beijing Ducks in the 2011/12 CBA Finals, the Tigers made sure that their next trip would assure them of victory. And one of the reasons behind this season’s success was because of Yi Jianlian.
Following another unsuccessful stint in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, the former sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft made a return to the CBA and picked up where left off the last time he was in the league. After averaging 24.6 points and 10.5 rebounds over the season, it can be said that the seven-footer provided a great impact to his team’s pursuit in regaining the CBA crown.
With the season now over and respective provincial and regional teams preparing for the upcoming National Games in Liaoning province as well as the country’s various national teams gearing up for their summer schedules, one question that will consume many basketball enthusiasts’ minds in the coming months is whether Yi’s performance this season could secure him a contract with an NBA team next season.
At NiuBBall, we don’t often comment on the problems with the officiating inside of Chinese basketball. Actually on second thought, yeah we do.
However, this may be the first time where we have commented on fans seeking to physically assault an officiating crew after a game.
This article should focus on the big showdown between star foreign imports Maya Moore and Elizabeth Cambage as their respective Shanxi Flame and Zhejiang Golden Bull teams took on one another in Game 1 of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association Finals Tuesday night.
However, the real action came after the final buzzer.
In what turned out to be two great individual performances by the US and Australian stars (Moore scored 53 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Cambage scored 38) and an eventual 96-92 victory by Shanxi that put them one game up in the series, once again it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight in the newspapers and sports channels around the country.
Believing that the referees were showing favoritism towards Moore and her Flame teammates throughout the game (apparently Zhejiang was assessed with one too many foul calls), a group of fans thought it would be a good idea to storm the court after the game to let them know their feelings on the matter. But instead of simply voicing their displeasure, these fans let their fists do the talking as the three officials narrowly escaped to the dressing room. The situation was so intense that the angry mob had to be held back by security on hand at the arena.
The 2012-2013 Chinese Basketball Association season has not been a kind one to the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. After much hype and exceedingly high expectations after the signing of superstar Tracy McGrady, the last place Eagles are probably looking for this season to end as quickly as possible. With only two wins this season, the only thing the team is playing for now is pride.
Coming into last Wednesday night’s road encounter with seven-time champions, the Bayi Rockets, the Eagles were looking to snap a three-game losing streak to bring the team a much-needed confidence boost.
As in some of the Eagles games this season, they were behind but remained within a shot of pulling out a win. And late in the fourth quarter, down by three points, they had every chance of grinding out their third win of what has been a very long season for them.
However, it was not the players or their performances that the media focused on after the game. Instead, it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight.
The question of CBA referees making poor calls during close games is not a new subject as in previous seasons many have questioned their judgment. Most have even gone as far as to say that the calls are corrupt. However, there has never been any hard evidence to show that there are so-called “black whistles” within the league.
How well would would Wang Zhelin’s predominantly back-to-the-basket game translate in the NBA? (Photo: Osports)
NiuBBall has a new scribe. World, meet Kenya Brown. Currently based in Beijing, Kenya has spent 11 years in China, half of which has been spent in Baoding, Hebei province. With a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Kent in England, Kenya is now a news editor with China Central Television News Content. He also contributes articles on sports-related issues involving China on the China Sports Review blog and covers soccer news for US-based Yanks Abroad website.
Kenya’s biggest basketball moment, playing-wise, was when he scored the game-winning basket for his junior varsity team in Germany back in 1991 in front of hostile crowd of 25 people. As he is usually busy with work, Kenya has yet to see a live CBA game. However, he considers seeing Guangdong Southern Tigers assistant coach Jason Dixon walking along Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong with his family as his biggest CBA moment so far.
For his opening piece, Kenya discusses China’s young generation of back-to-the-basket centers and wonders how well their games could translate in today’s NBA.