Zhang Jinsong's two 3-pointers helped the Bayi Rockets regain the lead with 1:20 remaining and stave off elimination with a 86-83 home win over the Guangdong Southern Tigers in Ningbo on Sunday.
Guangdong, however, still leads the best-of-seven Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) Finals series 3-1 with Game Five returning to its home stadium in Dongguan on Wednesday.
Entering the decisive quarter by trailing 67-62, Zhang Jinsong chipped in a 3-pointer to help Bayi take over the lead on 78-76 before scoring another for for 81-78.
Zhang mailed 19 points, including 5 3-pointers, while center Mo Ke scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets and point guard Wang Zhongguang contributed 17 points and five assists.
Zhu Fangyu led the Hongyuan with 21 points as the visiting side, only one victory away for its third consecutive championship, got double-digit efforts from four players.
Yi Jianlian, the pivot of Guangdong who had been doubtful for Sunday's game after injuring his knee on Saturday, had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Wang Shipeng added 16 points, and forward Du Feng, Saturday's leading scorer with 29 points, pitched in 14 points.
Opening the game with 10-0, Bayi played a desperate fighting back Sunday night and wrapped up the first quarter by leading 12 points on 22-10 before Guangdong found their rhythm to cut the deficit to five points.
Being down 36-41 into the second half, Hongyuan launched a successful comeback and rocked the court around midway into the third quarter on Zhu Fangyu's consecutive 3-pointer shots but failed to hold their nerve to the end.
(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2006)