Three quarters down, the Beijing Ducks looked out. Playing at home against the woeful Fujian Sturgeons, a 5-8 team ranked 14th out of 17, the Ducks found themselves inexplicably down nine with 12 minutes to play, a decidedly uninspiring showing from a first-place team that had just notched its signature win of the young season by beating Guangdong on the road on Christmas day.
And that’s when they woke up.
Stephon Marbury scored nine straight points to single-handedly tie the game at 85. Fujian called two timeouts, but the Ducks kept scoring. Wang Zhelin got in the action. Randolph Morris scored four straight. Li Gen threw down a one-handed dunk. And for good measure, with 26 seconds left, Marbury tossed up a long three that hit nothing but net.
But it was the Ducks’ defense that was more noteworthy. Fujian only scored six points in the final frame, all on free throws. The team somehow managed to miss all its shots from the field. The Ducks turned a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit into a 10-point win, 101-91.
Marbury scored 28, while Morris and Li Gen both added 16.