Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 11/22/11

Less than 24 hours ago there was much speculation that JR Smith’s CBA career would come to an end after just one game due to a knee injury he suffered late in Zhejiang’s season opener.  Turns out the knee is fine, and Smith was already back on the court today helping his team skate to an easy 101-73 win over Dongguan. 

Smith didn’t start the game, and although I’m not 100% sure why not, I’m going to assume it’s because he went against his team’s wishes by flying to Beijing to see a doctor (the team wanted their own doctors to take care of it).  Anyway, Zhejiang would’ve been just fine without his services in this one.  They jumped out to an early 14-4 lead, and they had extended that lead to as many as 22 before the first quarter had even come to a close.  When Smith finally entered the game (to the delight of the home crowd) with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter, the score was 34-18.  The defensive attention he generates made his presence felt, but he wasn’t particularly agressive early on.  He missed his first three shots (all jumpers), and although he didn’t appear hobbled he didn’t make any explosive moves to the basket.  No matter; Zhejiang still held a double-digit lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Dongguan made the closest thing to a run that they’d ever make, closing the gap to 9 early on.  At this point JR took advantage of all that defensive attention he drew by assisting on a pair of consecutive Zhejiang triples.  Despite his condition, JR was definitely the focus of Dongguan’s defense all game long.  His 4 assists don’t really indicate how well he distributed the ball… a lot of his passes led to open jumpers or easy buckets, and the lead was upwards of 20 points once again when the third quarter came to a close.

Despite the huge lead, JR remained in the game for most of the fourth quarter.  He sandwiched a couple of triples around an and-one layup before making his exit at the 3:52 mark.  Zhejiang led by 33 at that point, and ended up taking it by 28.  As the title states, JR’s line consisted of 15 points on 5-12, 6 boards, and 4 assists.  I thought he played pretty well.  He certainly didn’t force anything… his teammates were playing well, and he didn’t disrupt the flow at all.

After a quiet debut in the huge loss to powerhouse Guangdong, former New Jersey Net Josh Boone was excellent for Zhejiang in this one.  He had a big impact in the paint early on and finished up with 24 points and 13 boards on 11-17. 

Zhejiang improves to 1-1 with the victory.  Dongguan falls to 0-2… and to be perfectly honest, they looked absolutely awful.  Former Cal State Fullerton gaurd Josh Akognon was their leading scorer with 14, but he wasn’t very effective with his 6-19 shooting.


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