By Zha Minjie and Ni Yinbin | 2012-12-26 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
Former NBA star Tracy McGrady (right), who now plays for the Qingdao Doublestars, gives away Christmas gifts to his teammates and thanked them for their support.
Photo by Xinhua
THE Shanghai Sharks made sure their fans had a joyous Christmas with a runaway 84-74 home win against former CBA champions Bayi Rockets yesterday.
The Sharks won the game without their inspirational captain Liu Wei and former NBA ace Gilbert Arenas, who were both out with injuries.
Liu missed the game due to inflammation of the Achilles tendon, while Arenas was still struggling with a pulled muscle which has limited his appearances this season.
The Sharks had five players in double figures to deny the Bayi team led by former NBA and Chinese national team player Wang Zhizhi, who had 22 points and five rebounds.
Shanghai was 3-10 going into the game yesterday with fans calling for the coach's head after another disappointing performance against the Foshan Long Lions on Sunday.
But young gun Ge Yang spurred on the home side with 18 points with 12 of them coming in the first quarter itself as the Sharks raced to a strong 33-17 lead in a flawless first.
Shanghai's American import D.J. White had 16 points and center Zhang Zhaoxu managed 11 points and 9 rebounds.
"I'm proud of this young man," said Sharks' head coach Daniel Panaggio, patting Ge's shoulder who sat next to him at the press conference. "This win can help build the confidence of young players."
"I learnt a lot from this game," said the 22-year-old Ge. "We had difficulties in the third quarter when Bayi came back strong but we got through."
Bayi's performance was hampered by their own poor free throws. They could only manage 11 out of 22 at the foul line last night.
"I didn't know whether we would win tonight but I knew we would play well," said Panaggio.
"It's good to lose a good player sometimes," he added, which was a chance for the other guys to "man up."
The Sharks will play the Jilin Northeast Tigers away on December 30.
Elsewhere in the CBA yesterday, Zhejiang Lions beat Xinjiang Flying Tigers 100-89. The Guangdong Southern Tigers' four-game winning streak was brought to a halt by the visiting defending champion Beijing Ducks, who won 110-100. American Stephon Marbury contributed 31 points while his compatriot Randolph Morries scored a game-high 35 points and 13 rebounds.