Xiralijan pockets 13 assists as Xinjiang downs Shandong in CBA (updated)

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QINGDAO, China, July 17 (Xinhua) — Former Chinese national team point guard Xiralijan Muhtar dished out 13 assists for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers on Friday as the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) title contender thrashed the Shandong Heroes 107-94 in the ongoing regular session of the 2019-20 season.

Although Xiralijan registered just one point in the game, the 29-year-old created many chances for his teammates as local star Zhou Qi wasn’t on the team’s active roster. With the help of Xiralijan, Fan Ziming recorded a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tang Caiyu led both sides in scoring by grabbing 25 points.

Prior to the game, Shandong had secured its position in the season’s playoffs. Shandong had a 7-3 spurt to start the game and led 33-29 in the first period.

Xinjiang, who forced 22 turnovers in four periods were struggling to find a way of chasing the score-line midway through the second quarter, trailing by five points at the break.

Lutpulla’s sensational performances helped Xinjiang turn the game around in the third period, bringing a four-point advantage into the final quarter.

Xinjiang had a two-digit cushion early in the forth period after Yu Changdong led the CBA powerhouse on a 12-4 run. Tao Hanling then helped Shandong narrow the deficit to seven, but Qi Lin and Fan Ziming contributed three three-pointers consecutively, putting the game beyond the Heroes’ reach.

“When we faced a tough situation, our young players, including Tang Caiyu and Fan Ziming, came forward and helped us to win the game. I really appreciate these guys,” said Xinjiang head coach Adiljan.

Some media reported on Friday that Xinjiang’s old rivals, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, had asked the international basketballer Marshon Brooks to come back to China, in order to finish the team’s title defense campaign. Adiljan was asked how to respond to Guangdong’s actions in the post-match conference.

“You know the regular season is not over yet, we will stay focused on the rest of the games. We won’t consider anything about the playoffs until the regular season has come to a close,” Adiljan said. Enditem

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