Guangdong suffered their first home loss of the season here on Wednesday as they were defeated by Xinjiang 104-91 in the third game of CBA finals.
Xinjiang now leads 3-0 in the best-of-seven series and have three match points. The fourth match will still be played in Dongguan, Guangdong.
Xinjiang's 13 three-pointers in the first half set the tone for the match. The host made in only six three-pointers for the entire game, as much as Xinjiang did in only the first quarter. Darius Adams scored 16 of his team-high 37 points for Xinjiang in the first period and led a 15-0 run to help Xinjiang finish the first quarter with a lead of 17 points.
Li Gen cam out for Xinjiang in the second quarter. Li, nicknamed Jiaozuo LeBron for his strong body, was five-of-five in shooting in that quarter. With his 12 points, Xinjiang headed into the second half at 62-44.
Xinjiang enlarged their lead to as many as 24 points in the third period. But in the final quarter, Xinjiang suddenly lost their concentration and could only witness their opponent narrowing the gap to as little as eight.
Guangdong's Carlos Boozer scored 19 of his match-high 40 points in the final period. But the host had too much turnovers in last minutes and was unable to turn over the table.
Adams led Xinjiang with 37 while Andray Blatche helped with a double-double of 25 and 10 rebounds. Boozer had 40 and 11 rebounds but was the only Guangdong player to score more than 20 points. Yi Jianlian took 15 from 36 minutes while Zhou Peng added 16. Donald Sloan finished with only 10 and was 0-of-5 in three-pointer shooting.
Zhou Qi, who injured his left thumb in Sunday's Game 2, finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists for Xinjiang.
“The injury affects a lot, most mentally.” said Zhou Qi, who insisted to play after the injury confirmed as fracture. “But I think I played OK tonight.”
Xinjiang's coach Li Qiuping thought Zhou Qi will play better in Friday's Game 4.
“Zhou Qi did great job in both offence and defence. But I think he could do better than this,” said Li. “Today we played good defence and let Guangdong score only about 90 points. But we still gave them some chances in the last quarter.”
“We had too much turnovers. Losing the previous two matches just gave my players pressures,” said Du Feng, Guangdong's head coach. “The series is not over yet. We will try our best in the next game.”
It is the fifth time for Xinjiang to play in CBA finals. They lost all the previous four, three times to Guangdong in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and once to Beijing in 2014.