Jimmer Fredette had another big night, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the loss of Guerschon Yabusele as the Shanghai Sharks fell to the Shenzhen Leopards 100-93 on Friday night.
Yabusele rolled his ankle midway through the second quarter and was unable to return, leaving Fredette to carry the load as the only import. He put up a valiant effort as he finished with 39 points on 13 for 29 shooting from the floor, including 6 for 13 from beyond the arc and 7 for 8 from the free-throw line. He added 11 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
After a slow start that saw him score just five first-quarter points, Fredette got things going in the second as he took over after the departure of Yabusele. He started it out with a steal that he converted into a fast break lay-up. He then drilled a three from the right corner before picking up a technical foul for slapping an opposing player on the backside who had just fouled Fredette. Jimmer added a pair of free throws before he hit an off-balance jumper from just inside the 3-point line to finish the half with 17 points.
He got back to work in the third quarter with a left corner three followed by a pull-up three in transition to tie the game at 58. He then started pulling out the spin move to score his next two baskets while adding two free throws as the Sharks tried to keep up with the Leopards.
Fredette got back into a rhythm from beyond the arc in the fourth as he hit a three off the dribble from the top of the key followed by a right-wing three to cut the Leopards lead to 89-87. He knocked down two more free-throws and another scoop shot in the lane after another pretty spine move to finish his scoring efforts.
While the Leopards came away with the much-needed win, they had some struggles of their own as Maciej Lampe and Jeremy Pargo got into an altercation on the bench and had to be separated.
Lampe finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Pargo chipped in with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Gu QuAn paced Shenzhen with 24 points and eight rebounds as the Leopards evened up the series at two games apiece.
Zhang ZhaoXu totaled 14 points and four rebounds for Shanghai while Zhai Yi had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Yabusele finished with five points and five boards before the injury.
The deciding game of the best-of-5 series is back in Shanghai on Sunday.