Basketball News: Sichuan Blue Whales Beat Liaoning Flying Leopards to Claim 2016 CBA Championship
Sichuan Blue Whales got the better of the Liaoning Flying Leopards to capture their first ever Chinese Basketball Association championship with a 94-91 victory in Game 5 of their best-of-seven finals series at Chengdu on Sunday.
Sichuan's Foreign reinforcements led the way for the team as the three imports scored a combined 58 points.
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Former Utah Jazz player Mike Harris finished the game with 25 points and 15 rebounds, while Iranian veteran center Hamed Haddadi posted 22 points and 16 boards as both players finished the game with a double-double. Justin Dentmon chipped in 11 points to wrap up the 4-1 win over Liaoning, making Sichuan the fifth basketball club to claim the CBA title.
"Three foreign players did help the team a lot during the entire season," head coach Yang Xuezeng told. "But they are all team players. We won the championship because of team efforts."
Chinese guard Wang Ruheng connected four three-pointers, including a crucial one in the final quarter right after the Flying Leopards cut the deficit to three. Forward Zhang Chunjun added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Sichuan capped the opening period with a four-point lead 24-20 and stormed Liaoning in the second quarter with a 28-15 run ending the first half with a huge 17-point advantage 52-35. The Flying Leopards, who have reached the league's finals in six different occasions without winning one, rallied with a 29-22 run to close the gap to 10 entering the fourth quarter.
Liaoning continued to take advantage of the momentum during the last twelve minutes of the game, but Sichuan withstood the Leopards' aggressiveness and Lester Hudson failed to hit all of his six attempts in the three-point marker. The Blue Whales managed to limit the visiting team to just 27 points while they scored 20 in final period of the match.
Hudson led Liaoning with 39 points and Guo Ailun had 17.