Four Xinjiang players scored at least 20 points to lift the host over eight-time champion Guangdong at 122-105 and to win the Game 1 of the 2016-2017 CBA finals here on Friday.
Darius Adams led Xinjiang with a match-high 30 points while Andray Blatche added 22 and five assists. Zhou Qi used only three quarters to take 20 points while Xiralijan scored nine of his 21 points in the final period.
Xinjiang and Guangdong met five times in CBA playoffs before this best-of-seven finals and Guangdong won all of the five series, including three finals in 2009, 2010 and 2011, in which Xinjiang only won four matches.
The situation totally changed in the match tonight. Guangdong used a 6-0 run to open the match but the host quickly answered with Xiralijan's three-pointer. Zhou Qi scored 10 points in the first quarter, including five free-throws. Guangdong committed nine fouls in that quarter and gave Xinjiang 12 free-throws chances, while they only had two.
A 13-4 run in the first four minutes of the second quarter forced Guangdong coach Du Feng to call a timeout, which didn't change much. Xinjiang led as many as 14 points and headed into the second half at 60-50.
Adams, who took only six points in the first half, made in five three-pointers in the third quarter and scored 20 in that period. Xinjiang outscored Guangdong 37-29 in the third quarter.
Guangdong tried to narrow the gap in the final period but Xiralijan's three three-pointers secured Xinjiang the huge home win.
The host made in 20 three-pointers while Guangdong was only 10-of 29. Xinjiang also took advantage in free-throws as they outscored their opponent 22-9.
“After 12 days of break, I was a little bit worried about our team but my players proved me wrong.” said Li Qiuping, head coach of Xinjiang. “They did well in both offense and defense. But this is only the first game of the series, we need to keep it up.”
Despite his game-high 30 points, Adams also dished out eight assists. Zhou Qi had a overall performance. He made in fields goals, three-pointers and free-throws, grabbed ten rebounds and had four blocks.
Carlos Boozer led Guangdong with 26 points. Yi Jianlian finished with a double-double of 14 and 12 rebounds. Donald Sloan added 20.
“We gave them too much chances to go to the free-throw line in the first half. We had only four while they had 14.” said Du Feng. “In the second half, Adams made in some real long shots, which hurt us a lot. We need to improve our defense in Sunday's Game 2.”
The second match will be played in Urumqi on Sunday.