Stephon Marbury’s late push helped the Beijing Ducks eliminate the Guangdong Southern Tigers 3-1 in a best-of-five CBA semi-finals with a 107-105 game 4 overtime thriller in Beijing.
Marbury saved his best performance of the season for Monday night as he poured in a game-high 38 points going 16 of 31 from the field. The duo American guard system implemented in game 3 by Guangdong failed early on as Will Bynum left the game late in the first quarter after pulling his hamstring leaving 18-year-old Emmanuel Mudiay to carry the load on his own.
With Bynum out, the Ducks, who had both Marbury and Randolph Morris in the game, outscored the Southern Tigers 28-18 in the second quarter taking a 51-40 lead into halftime. Mudiay struggled early in the second half forcing turnovers but found his rhythm late in the third quarter cutting Beijing’s lead to two points. But as Guangdong pushed to go on a run, Marbury would step up staying aggressive and taking advantage of Guangdong’s lackluster defense.
Early in the fourth quarter, Guangdong’s Yi Jianlian gave the team its first lead of the ball game when he hit two free throws going up 78-77. Yi Jianlian would follow that up by throwing down ferocious alley-oop slam that shifted the momentum towards Guangdong silencing the Beijing crowd.
On the ensuing Beijing possession, Stephon Marbury drove to the basket with the shot-clock winding down and hit a right handed and-one layup high off the glass. From that point on, it was clear that we were in for an exciting finish.
The Southern Tigers would stretch their lead as much as five points but that was short lived when former Las Angeles Lakers guard Sun Yue stepped up to the free-throw line and knocked down two big shots giving Beijing a 93-92 lead with 44 seconds remaining in the game. Guangdong hit a layup with 33 seconds left putting them back on top 94-93. Beijing failed to answer on their next possession and were forced to foul sending Guangdong’s Gao Shang to the line where he hit both free-throws extending the lead to three points.
The Ducks had one last chance to tie it. With the shot clock turned off, Stephon Marbury hit one of the biggest shots of his career, a contested turnaround three-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining tied the game and sent it into overtime.
In the extra frame, where only one foreigner is permitted on the floor for each team, 38-year-old Marbury absolutely schooled the 18-year-old Mudiay scoring 9 points to Mudiay’s zero. The game came down to the last seconds when Marbury put a three that hit back rim but was tipped in by Zhu Yanxi as time expired.
The Beijing Ducks will try and repeat as CBA champions when they face the Liaoning Leopards. The Leopards, led by CBA MVP Lester Hudson, swept the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles 3-0. Game 1 of the 2015 CBA finals is set for March 10th, at 7:35 p.m. Beijing time.