Yao’s Sharks pull off biggest upset of season; plus, pics of former Rockets playing in China (Brooks, Harris)December 15th, 2011
Yao Ming’s Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks arguably pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the Chinese Basketball Association this season. On Wednesday night in Shanghai, the Sharks beat the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers who are coached by Bob Donewald, the Sharks’ former coach who left this season for a bigger contract with Xingjiang.
To make things even sweeter, Donewald had raised the ire of Sharks fans earlier in the preseason when he said the Sharks weren’t very good, and that even with Yao Ming playing for them the Sharks couldn’t beat Xinjiang.
It has been a tough season for the Sharks this season, who are now 3-7 and have lost their last four road games. They also played against Xingjiang without their start guard, Liu Wei, because of an injury. But former Rockets’ player Mike Harris played another great game for the Sharks, leading the team with 24 points and 8 rebounds.
Xingjiang was led by two former NBA players (no wonder this loss was an upset). Patty Mills, who played for Portland the past couple of seasons, scored 22 points (10-of-14 from the field), grabbed 7 rebounds, and had 3 assists. Mills scored 14 points in the third quarter, but was invisible in the fourth quarter.
Former Denver Nugget Kenyon Martin played one of his best offensive games of the season, scoring 20 points (9-of-16 FGs) and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Meanwhile, on the same evening in a different game, former Rocket Aaron Brooks had another standout game for the Guangdong Dongguan Bank Hongyuan Tigers, recording his second consecutive double-double in scoring 21 points (5-of-7 3-pointers) and doling out 10 dimes. It’s strange to see Aaron in a Chinese uniform playing for an all-Chinese crowd.
Brooks signed a $2 million contract (pretty big for the CBA) back when it looked like the NBA wouldn’t be having a season. Brooks can’t opt out of his contract in China, but the CBA regular season ends in February, which could give him enough time for him to sign-on as a free agent for an NBA team this season. However, because his team is doing so well and they are expected to play deep into the playoffs, he could be playing in China into April. That could make it difficult for him to sign with an NBA team before their rosters need to be set.