Lin's clutch shot hands Zhejiang ninth consecutive win

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Yi Jianlian (front R) of Guangdong Southern Tigers goes up for a basket during the 9th round match against Zhejiang Golden Bulls at the 2022-2023 season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Oct. 30, 2022. (Xinhua/Chen Zhenhai)

The Zhejiang Golden Bulls edged the Guangdong Southern Tigers 97-96 through late substitute Lin Xiaotian's 3-pointer, registering the ninth victory in a row as the first stage of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season concluded on Sunday.

Lin, who only played the final five seconds after substituting fouled-out Jarmar Gulley, shot from downtown with 0.6 seconds to play, and Marshon Brooks' 3-pointer on the other end was not counted in as it was attempted after the buzzer.

"Actually our tactics were laid out for Lu Wenbo to make that shot, but I think confidence is much needed in clutch time. Luckily the ball went in," said Lin.

Guangdong came through a tight start to lead by nine points midway through the second quarter, but Wu Qian's two straight 3-pointers spurred a 12-2 pointing dash for Zhejiang, who led 53-50 at halftime.

Gulley scored second-chance points and made a layup in a span of 11 seconds early in the third quarter, helping Zhejiang run wild with a 14-2 surge, and led by as many as 14 points down the stretch, but Guangdong cut it to 76-68 before the final quarter.

Brooks' shot beyond the arc capped a 21-10 run that lifted Guangdong to 89-86 with 2:39 remaining on the clock.

Then frustration boiled over for Wu, who got a technical foul added to his unsportsmanlike foul in the first quarter, leading to the local star's ejection with 1:45 to play, but Lin's heroic performance in the dying seconds kept Zhejiang rolling.

Kyle Fogg had 40 points, five rebounds and eight assists, helping the defending champions Liaoning Flying Leopards beat the Sichuan Blue Whales 102-85.

Fogg scored 20 in the first quarter as Liaoning built a double-digit lead. Despite Sichuan's continuous efforts of piling pressure, Liaoning managed to enlarge the advantage to 19 points before the half break, and Sichuan never seemed like a serious threat to Liaoning in the second half.

Elsewhere, the Shandong Heroes saw off the Ningbo Rockets 97-79, the Qingdao Eagles smashed the Fujian Sturgeons 122-76, the Nanjing Monkey Kings defeated the Xinjiang Flying Tigers 108-93, and the Zhejiang Lions lost to the Guangzhou Loong Lions 110-98. 

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