Big 3rd quarter carries Xinjiang past Guangsha

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Xinjiang, the defending champions of the CBA league, brought two-game winning streak to their home supporters in Urumchi, as they defeated Guangsha 91-84 in a tight game in the season's ninth round on Friday.

At the beginning of the game, Xinjiang got a 9-2 lead, which turned out to be the largest gap of the back-and-forth first half. With Kyranbek Makhan hitting a 2-pointer at the buzzer, the home team was trailing 25-28 when the first quarter ended.

The gap was never extended in the second quarter. Both sides even went without a field goal for more than 3 minutes after 30-30. The guest team kept a narrow advantage as the score was knotted at 48-44 at the end of the first half.

The defending champions began to show their strength after the interval. With a 9-0 run, Xinjiang reclaimed the lead and never gave Guangsha another chance. The latter trimmed the gap to only 2 points in the last 2 minutes of the game. But the home team sealed the victory with a steal in its opponent's last attack and stable free-throw accuracy.

Blatche of Xinjiang had game-high 26 points, along with 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and 3 assists. His teammates Adams played 28 minutes and scored 25 points. Hu Jinqiu from Guangsha got 22 points, including 4 slamdunks.

In other games tonight, Fujian's Russ Smith scored 43 points. His hot-handed performance did not prevent Fujian from losing to Beijing 117-110. Shanghai won over Bayi 87-72, expanding the latter's losing streak to 9. Shenzhen beat Qingdao 102-91. Guangdong smashed Tongxi 115-85. Shandong crushed Guangzhou 129-102. Shanxi trounced Jilin 146-125. Jiangsu hammered Sichuan 125-95.

After nine rounds, Liaoning keeps leading the way with 7 wins and 2 losses.

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