From New York and Los Angeles in America to Barcelona and Madrid in Spain, rivalries between two major cities in their respected countries are always interesting.
In China, no rivalry is bigger than the “Jing-Hu” rivalry (Beijing vs. Shanghai).
When the two basketball teams met on Christmas day, the entire city Beijing was buzzing.
“This rivalry is very intense. Beijing people and Shanghai people are always in competition no matter what the event is. Our (Beijing) fan base is much stronger than theirs (Shanghai). We will never forget the 9-1 game,” says a Beijing Ducks fan who’s English name is James (named after Lebron James).
The “9-1 game” James speaks of dates back to 1997 when the Beijing Goan soccer club defeated Shanghai Shenhua by a count of 9-1. Since then, Beijing sports fans have always referred to this game when the “Jing-Hu Derby” is referenced.
During shoot-around, Beijing Ducks forward Damien Wilkins says, “Stephon (Marbury) told me about how important this rivalry is. We got to get this one for the fans and for the city.”
Christmas day, 2013, the Shanghai Sharks are in Beijing riding a three game losing streak while the Ducks have won their last three.
The arena is packed. There is a buzz in the building as fans anticipate the opening tip-off. A few fans even brought out creative signs with two numbers written on it, “9-1”.
The Energy from the fans is certainly being passed to the players as both teams come out playing great basketball.
The game is very intense. Wilkins has the tough task of guarding one of the top scorers in the CBA , Quincy Douby (he once scored 75-points in one game).
Both teams are trading buckets until the dying minutes of the 2nd quarter when Wilkins hits a huge three in the corner to put the Ducks up 51-50.
On the next possession, the Ducks cash in on an easy transition layup after forcing a turnover.
After two key offensive rebounds with 16 seconds remaining in the half, Wilkins banks in an “and-1” putting the Ducks up 5 and lifting the Beijing crowd to their feet.
The Ducks would go onto win the game 108-100.
Ducks center Randolph Morris poured in a game-high 38 points to go with nine rebounds.
No basket came easy for Morris as NBA veteran Darnell Jackson was shadowing him all game long.
The Sharks had no answer for the pick and roll game from Sun Yue and Morris. It was executed so well that it would make John Stockton and Karl Malone proud.
“This is a big win for us. I am very happy but we still a lot of work to do. It’s important to stay focused,” says Yue.
Morris says, “The ultimate goal is to win a championship. We are just going to take it one game at a time. One thing we need to work on right now is free throws.”
Wilkins is playing very good basketball in Beijing. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while playing a key role defensively.
“Coach is putting the ball in my hands and giving me a lot of responsibility. I try my best to take care of the ball and try to get my teammates involved when I can but at the same time stay aggressive,” says Wilkins.
In 40 minutes of playing time, Sharks combo guard Quincy Douby scored 27 points. Douby has had great success in the transition from NBA to the CBA.
“We just need to continue to play hard. It’s not like we are getting blown out. We are playing tough,” says Douby.
Darnell Jackson’s effort on both ends of the floor certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Despite the loss, Jackson finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double.