Fourty-one in a loss is one way to look at it… a few points above average average in a costly defeat at the hands of a team that came in losers of eight in a row is another. Maybe it makes no difference to JR… I don’t know. Maybe he just wants to keep throwing up shots through the end of the regular season and get the hell up on out of China as quickly as possible. I can’t say that that’s true, but tweets like the one above have got to make you wonder.
I don’t even blame the guy for wanting to be back in the United States. He’s been away from home for a long time, he and his family have been through a lot of drama over there, and he’s probably had enough of China at this point. However, he signed up for this. He inked his name on the dotted line and took the million or two dollars that were offered to him. I’m thinking that whoever cuts his checks probably wasn’t looking for 41 in Ls, so despite what JR seems to think, he was anything but “tight” today. I actually think he knows that but simply doesn’t care. JR Smith cares about JR Smith, and JR Smith wants to be playing for the Clippers, or maybe the Bulls right now. Before the Clippers or Bulls (or whatever NBA team it will be) go ahead and make him a part of their plans, though, they should take a long, hard look at this tweet. It’s a reflection of JR’s me-first attitude. This man is on the verge of averaging 38 points per game while failing to take his team to the playoffs… and that doesn’t seem to bother him one bit. Homesick or not… it this the attitude of a winner?
Foshan 111, Zhejiang 107: You already know JR scored 41 in an L, but how did it happen? Well, the unidentified white guy was pretty beasty with a team-high 34 points, and Marcus Haislip was pretty good himself with 31/10. Foshan had a big 30-point first quarter but fell behind once Zhejiang brought JR in off the bench. They never fell behind by much, though, and that was the key… they kept themselves within striking distance. With about three minutes to play, the unidentified white guy took the ball coast-to-coast (as he seemed to do quite effectively all game long), wrapped it around his back, and scored a layup to make it a one-possession game. Foshan would come up with the stops they needed and take the lead on a Marcus Haislip jumper. Smith proceeded to tie the game up on an and-one layup, but Haislip came right back with another huge jump shot from the same spot as the first one. JR would tie the game once again, but from that point on it would be the unidentified white guy playing hero. Twice more he got out in transition and finished at the rim, making it a 105-101 game. Zhejiang got to within three after a few fouls on both teams, but with about 25 seconds to go they opted for a quick two rather than the potential game-tying three. They sent JR on a cut to the basket, but the ball was stolen by Foshan… and that was all she wrote.
The loss puts Zhejiang at 15-13… good enough to be part of a three-way tie for 7th. Their next two games will probably decide whether or not they qualify for the postseason because they happen to be against the other teams involved in said tie.
Shandong 102, Jiangsu 99: Shandong only needed 18 points from Alan Anderson, who dropped 54 in last round’s L, to defeat Jackson Vroman and Jiangsu. Othello Hunter’s 21 points and 17 rebounds helped to neutralize the impact of Vroman (27/9) while Shandong’s 28 of 31 freethrowing put them over the top. Marcus Williams played 24 minutes in this game but had just 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Fujian 120, Liaoning 95: Another costly loss (four in a row) for a Liaoning team that has slipped right out of the playoff picture. Josh Powell continues to do… not a whole lot (17/7 isn’t good in the CBA) and Rodney Carney went just 3 of 14 from three-point range in this game. About the only guy who appears to have played well for them today was the goon, Han Dejun. He had 20 and 14. Fujian got game highs of 36 points and 17 boards from Will McDonald as well as 17 points or more from three additional players. The win keeps them all alone in 5th place with four rounds to go, but their three remaining games are all against winning teams, one of which is Guangdong. They could very easily go 0-3, so they’ll have to be careful not to get too comfortable in that 5th spot.
Shanxi 107, Guangsha 100: Peter John Ramos went for 32 and 17 while Wilson Chandler chipped in with 22 and 7, but Guangsha still lost their third game in a row. Shanxi, the league’s highest-scoring team, actually had a bit of an off game offensively, but 107 proved to be enough as Guangsha missed 25 out of 31 three-pointers. Yikes. Shanxi remains in 4th place while Guangsha becomes part of that three-way tie for 7th. That’s not exactly the ideal place to be as three teams can’t finish tied for 7th and all make the playoffs.
Qindago 114, Beijing 102: Li Gen–not Lester Hudson–Li Gen dropped 41 on the Ducks to lead Qindago in this surprising upset. Hudson did have 34 of his own, but he had to take 14 three-pointers while Li only took 6 (and made 4). Fortunately for #2 Beijing, #3 Dongguan lost to Guangdong… so they hold on to a one-game advantage in the win column. Stephon Marbury had 22 in this one, by the way.
Shanghai 89, Bayi 77: Shanghai took care of business against a bad team, and in doing so they got themselves back into the playoff picture. At 15-13 they’re the third team involved in that tie for 7th. Marcus Landry was the game’s leading scorer with just 22 points.
Guangdong 111, Dongguan 97: Guangdong officially has the #1 seed all locked up now. They’ve won 11 games in a row and Aaron Brooks (24 points on 9-17) isn’t showing any signs of JR-Smith-like behavior. James Singleton missed out on a 20-20 by one board. Josh Akognon led Dongguan with 31.
Xinjiang 99, Jilin 97: It’s two points over 11-win Jilin, but it’s a win for Xinjiang, and a big one at that. What Xinjiang did here was separate themselves from the 7th-place pack, and that was damn important because after a game against Liaoning they’ll see Guangdong, Dongguan, and Fujian, in that order. Anyway, Cartier Martin did play for Jilin this morning… he had 34 in the loss. Tim Pickett led Xinjiang with 21, but he took 23 shots.