Missed free throws were the Sharks undoing as they dropped out of first place after a 107-104 loss to the Beijing Ducks on Wednesday. The Sharks converted on just 68 percent of their shots from the charity stripe – 27 for 40 – in the three-point loss.
Stephon Marbury led the way for the Ducks in the huge win with 34 points on 10 for 19 shooting from the floor, including 5 for 9 from beyond the arc and 9 for 9 from the foul line.
He got plenty of help as Fang Shuo totaled 21 points on 5 for 8 shooting from 3-point range while adding six assists and five rebounds. Di Xiaochuan also had a nice night with 15 points and five rebounds while Ji Zhe added eight points and 15 rebounds as the Ducks moved to within one game of the final playoff spot with two games remaining.
Jimmer Fredette and Guerschon Yabusele led the way for the Sharks in the loss. Fredette had 34 points on 10 for 24 shooting from the floor, including 4 for 9 from distance and 10 for 12 from the free-throw line. He also chipped in with four rebounds and three assists in 37:18.
Yabusele totaled 30 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field, including a perfect 4 for 4 from the three-point land, but was just 6 for 12 at the foul line. He added 16 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a pair of steals in 34:42.
The only other person to score in double figures for Shanghai was Liu XiaoYu who registered 12 points on 4 for 15 from the field, including 1 for 8 from beyond the arc.
After holding the top spot in the CBA standings, the Sharks sit one game behind the Xinjiang Flying Tigers with just two games left.
On the season, Fredette is second in the league in scoring – tied with MarShon Brooks – averaging 36.4 points a game on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 40.7 percent fro 3-point range and 92.3 percent from the foul line. He also contributes 8.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 39 minutes.
Up next for Fredette and the Sharks is a matchup against the Beikong Fly Dragons. The Fly Dragons are just 9-27 on the season, but do have the league’s leading scorer in Errick McCollum who is putting up 37.2 points a night on the strength of four 50-point games and two 60-point games.
Another player to watch for the Fly Dragons is former NBA player Esteban Batista who is averaging 17.8 points on 58 percent shooting with 12.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 31.3 minutes.