Stephon Marbury of Bejing Ducks goes up for a basket in front of Wang Shipeng of Guangdong Southern Tigers in Game 1 of CBA Finals on March 21, 2012.
Stephon Marbury scored a game-high 36 points and had five rebounds and the same number of assists as the Beijing Ducks went 1-0 up in their best-of-seven CBA finals against the defending champions Guangdong Southern Tigers in Beijing last night.
Beijing's 19-year-old Zhai Xiaochuan contributed 18 points and notched six rebounds in his team's 108-101 win.
Guangdong rallied from 22 points down to narrow the gap to four points but Beijing managed to keep the visitors at bay.
The Ducks aggressive defending came at a price with both center Zhu Yanxi and power forward Randolph Morris being sent off after six fouls, but Beijing, playing its first-ever CBA finals, made good the advantage of a home court to grab an early lead in the series.
Game 2 of the series will be played in Guangdong tomorrow night.
"Of course I feel happy for my players and for the win tonight," Beijing coach Min Lulei said after the game.
"They've won lot of championships but I was confident we won't allow them a complete sweep. I have complete trust in my players and I believe they will perform well."
The game was played in a highly-charged atmosphere with Guangdong's Zhou Peng pushing Marbury to the ground when the latter was attempting a shot, which nearly brought the game to a halt.