Jimmer Fredette saved his best for last as he scored nine of the Sharks’ last 11 points to secure a 95-92 come from behind victory over the Shenzhen Leopards on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 first round series.
He did a significant amount of his damage on the offensive end in the fourth quarter as he scored 14 of the Sharks’ 26 points, including 12 points in the final minutes.
Fredette took over the game with the Sharks trailing by two as he drove down the left-wing and pulled up from beyond the arc and drilled a clutch three to give Shanghai the 81-79 lead. He followed that up with a pair of free throws to tie the game at 86 before closing out the game in style. Trailing by a bucket with under three minutes to play, he caught a pass at the top of the key and nailed a deep three to give Shanghai the 89-88 advantage.
After a defensive stop, the Sharks worked the ball around to Fredette who broke into the lane for a tough floater as the shot clock expired to push the lead to three. He then sealed the win just moments later as he grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic before he got fouled dribbling up the floor. He stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws for the 95-90 lead.
The crowd then showed its appreciation for star guard’s monster finish during the next timeout as chants of MVP rang out throughout the arena.
All told, Fredette finished with a game-best 33 points on 9 for 22 shooting from the floor and 12 for 12 from the free-throw line. He added a game-high 14 rebounds while handing out three assists and recording two steals in 42:44 of action.
Liu XiaoYu also made some nice contributions with 14 points on 6 for 10 shooting while Tseng Wen-Ting chipped in with 11 points on the strength of a 3 for 5 shooting night from beyond the arc.
Maciej Lampe paced the Leopards in the tough loss with 32 points on 13 for 21 shooting from the floor to go along with 13 rebounds. Gu QuAn added 22 points on 9 for 12 shooting, including 4 for 6 from 3-point land while Jeremy Pargo registered 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Game four of the hotly contested series will be in Shenzhen on Friday night.