Guo Ailun (L) of Liaoning Flying Leopards celebrates victory after the semifinal match between Liaoning Flying Leopards and Xinjiang Flying Tigers at the 2019-2020 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Aug. 7, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)
Liaoning becomes the first team entering the 2019-2020 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league finals.
QINGDAO, China, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Liaoning Flying Leopards overcame the Xinjiang Flying Tigers 119-113 in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) semifinals to take a 2-0 victory in the best-of-three series.
Xinjiang built a 33-22 lead in the first quarter, as rookie Qi Lin hit all three three-pointers.
Turning the table to race ahead 44-39 midway through the following quarter, Liaoning grabbed a seven-point lead when the first half expired.
With O.J. Mayo and Guo Ailun scoring five three-pointers, the Flying Leopards enlarged the margin to 16 points in the third quarter.
Xinjiang then rallied back to cut the deficit to only two points before the last quarter.
After Guo converted a layup in a fast break, Liaoning regained a five-point lead with 24 seconds remaining. Mayo added one more point on the free-throw line to seal the victory for Liaoning, which will face the winners between the Guangdong Southern Tigers and the Beijing Ducks in the finals.
Qi had a team-high 22 points for Xinjiang, including four three-pointers out of five. Zhou Qi, who was fouled out in the last quarter, bagged 18 points and 11 rebounds, Fan Ziming also contributed 18 points, and Zeng Lingxu added 16 points.
On the Liaoning side, Han got a game-high 35 points and 20 rebounds, Mayo finished with 34 points, Guo notched 25 points and He Tianju collected 10 points.
"We are really happy. The only problem is that He Tianju injured his leg, and I am not sure whether he could be ready for the next game," said Alejandro Martinez, coach of Liaoning.
"We had ups and downs during this unusual season, but our players always tried their best including tonight. We will get some rest and start to prepare for the next season," said Xinjiang coach Adiljan. ■