Order was restored to the Chinese Basketball Association last night as the Guangdong Southern Tigers, winners of the CBA finals in 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2004, beat Liaoning on the road, 94-74, to complete a four-game sweep.
By “order” we mean devastating lack of parity, the type that makes one wonder: is Guangdong actually any good, or is every other team really supremely that bad? The finals was basically unwatchable; on top of the predictably shoddy refereeing, we had two horribly matched teams slogging through four awful games. To make things worse, each Liaoning loss was followed by a worse one: 88-81, 93-82, 97-83, and then, finally, the merciful coup d’etat, 94-74. “This was probably the most competitive game of the series, which basically means that there was a 10-minute window in the first half when it looked like the underdog Lions weren’t going to get blown out,” writes Hua Hsu for Grantland, but the result was never in doubt.
So, congratulations, I guess, to Guangdong. You were insufferably boring and you didn’t make anyone enjoy basketball, but you have back that jade trophy the Beijing Ducks borrowed for a season.
Yi Jianlian was selected MVP. He’s actually a decent player, and if he had a natural position in the NBA, or played defense, he might never have had to return to China last fall to earn a living. We hope he never plays for Guangdong again — for his sake, because it’ll mean he’s been signed by an NBA team, and for the CBA’s, because it’ll liberate fans from the Southern Tigers’ deathgrip on the league. Jon Pastuszek has written before that he thinks Guangdong’s near the end of its dominance, with many of its star players getting old. They sure weren’t very old this year: the Southern Tigers lost four games all season, and none during the playoffs.
If you can stand it, Game 4 in its entirety can be watched here. We’ve uploaded the final minute of the game, plus the victory celebration, onto YouTube:
Highlights above, and on Youku here: