On Tuesday, Gilbert Arenas played his first game since November 24 — when he pulled up lame after just six minutes in Beijing – and it was apparent he wasn’t completely healthy. He limped to the bench in the first half, fueling the same questions that reporters asked last month: is he physically fit to compete?
Arenas would come back in the second half, but his skills, sadly, remained conspicuously absent, as he recorded just five points and seven assists in a 103-96 loss at Guangdong. Yi Jianlian, playing for the Southern Tigers, scored 15 points and grabbed nine boards.
To be fair to Arenas and the Shanghai Sharks — currently sitting in second-to-last place, while Guangdong is at the top — they were never supposed to win this game, and staying within single digits on the road is probably an accomplishment in itself. We have to ask again though: what’s up with Agent Zero? Like Tracy McGrady, another aging former NBA Dream Teamer in China, Arenas is proving to be a dud. Only McGrady’s Qingdao Double Star Eagles, in fact, is worse than Arenas’s Shanghai.
Meanwhile, Stephon Marbury’s Beijing Ducks are tied for first place with Guangdong. The two teams meet next week Tuesday in Dongguan, Guangdong province — the Chinese Basketball Association’s version of a Christmas Day headliner.