BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Shandong Gold roared into the final of Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league for the first time with a 101-82 home victory over defending champions Beijing Ducks on Friday.
Shangdong eliminated Beijing 3-0 on aggregate in the best-of-five semifinals.
Shandong's three foreign players became the dominating factor again. Zaid Abbass recovered from a poor performance in last game, pocketing 33 points and 12 rebounds. Jackson Vroman contributed 25 points and 13 rebounds, including a magical 12-point first quarter. Pooh Jeter helped with 16 points. They could combine an average of 67.0 points and 31.3 rebounds in this series.
Beijing's Li Gen, who scored only one point two days ago, opened the game with a 3-pointer, while they was responded by Shandong with an 8-0 run with Vroman snatching six points.
Vroman, who played for NBA's New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns from 2004-2006, continued his dominant play in this quarter both in offense and defense side. Shandong used another 7-0 run to end the first period at 32-16 as the Lebanese center showed versatility with 12 points, five rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block.
Beijing met another trouble, low free throw percentage, in the next quarter, finishing only one in eight attempts. This made Shandong players feel much more comfortable to send their opponents on the free throw line.
A controversial scene happened later. Stephon Marbury and Vroman nudged each other for rebound, then Shandong player Wu Ke seemed to trap Ex-NBA star from behind, which caused the referee to hand a technical foul for Marbury and Wu Ke respectively. Shandong still owned a 19-point lead into halftime.
Shandong continued to extend the margin to 23 points, the largest in this game. However, Beijing began to exhibit their resilience in the following several minutes under the leading role of Marbury, who consistently fought into Shandong's paint field. Moreover, Randolph Morris and Li Gen helped with 3-pointers and jumpers. With these three players' shining performance, Beijing cut the deficit within just six points into the final 12 minutes.
Shandong's foreign duo in the paint field, Vroman and Abbass, stood up with consecutive layups then to pull away the score. With one minute remaining, Shandong owned a 20-point lead, making it almost impossible for Beijing to come back into the game again.
Unfortunately, Beijing was the first defending champion to have been swept in CBA's 18-year history.
Marbury led Beijing players with 31 points. Morris and Li Gen finished with 16 points apiece.
Though disappointed with the result, Marbury expressed congratulations towards his opponents and hope for the future on Microblog, a Twitter-like social network tool in China. "Congratulations to Shandong.
They were the better team in this series. We will grow from this series and we will be better next year.
Thanks for the support to all the Beijing fans. Your love and support will never be forgotten this season. Love is Love!"
Shandong will meet seven-time champions Guangdong Hongyuan in the Finals, with the Game 1 scheduled next Friday.
In another semifinals, Guangdong edged Xinjiang 100-98 at home, also sweeping into the last contest for champions. Yi Jianlian made a critical block before the buzzer, finishing with a game-high 27 points and wight rebounds. Donald Sloan added 23 points,10 rebounds and five assists.
"This series shouldn't have been so tough for us. In these games, we often made the same mistake. When we led the opponents by double-figure points, we lack our concentration and suffer from many turnovers, creating opportunities for the opponent's fast breaks," Yi said.
Yi also admitted his surprise after noting that Beijing, which ended Guangdong's hope of winning the eighth champions trophy in last season's Finals, was swept by Shandong, while refusing to talk about the latter because "we just finished this series now".