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The CBA Finals Marred By Foul Play Instruction

Another MVP performance from Stephon Marbury

It could be another classic game in the history of the CBA, when the Beijing Ducks, with the help of Stephon Marbury, arguably the best import ever in the league, challenges the Guangdong Southern Tigers, which won seven out of eight recent finals. But what happened in Game 1 of the finals turned out to be a disgrace for Chinese basketball.

The watershed came in the 3rd quarter as Li Chunjiang, Guangdong's acclaimed head coach who, after a ref's call not favored by his side, immediately substituted the team's two foreign aides with Chinese players and repeatedly instructed the players to shang tui, or “sweep the leg,” to their opponents, instead of defending with their arms. “Shang tui, shang tui, only shang tui,Li shouted to the players and asked them twice to make sure they received his message (check the video below).

Li's newly-engineered tactic, as quietly listened by the Southern Tigers, also reached hundreds of millions of Chinese basketball fans in front of their TV and computer screens. And the Southern Tigers followed, if not in the way Li expected of them, as Zhou Peng, a national team player better known for his defending skills, sent an elbow to Stephon Marbury in the chest moments after. And Su Wei, another star player in the Guangdong side, launched a foul-mouth attack against Marbury (more on Beijing Cream here).

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But none of these worked. Marbury answered Zhou and his teammates with 36 points, six rebounds and five assists and was again described by local media as the “savior of the Ducks,” leading the capital team 1-0 in the 7-game series.

The Guangdong side may be outplayed for another reason: because the Chinese Basketball Association postponed the finals for safety concerns (some would argue it was more for the harmony of the two sessions than the semi-finals), they waited for nearly half a month without a single competitive match whereas the Ducks enjoyed a great win against the Shanxi Brave Dragons only three days ago.

Another MVP performance from Stephon Marbury

Another interesting tidbit from the MasterCard Center is that the Ducks' fans have successfully adopted chants from Gongti, or the “Workers' Stadium,” where Beijing Guo'an, a soccer team in the capital city, plays. The chanting of  niubi and shabi has become a constant on the Ducks' home court in the playoffs.

Photo: Sohu Sports

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