Sun, 29 Nov 2020

Wang Wenyu (L) of Shandong Heroes dribbles during a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) League match between Shandong Heroes and Beijing Royal Fighters in Zhuji, east China's Zhejiang Province, on October 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

Shandong Heroes and Liaoning Flying Leopards opened the 2020-21 regular season of the CBA league with victories.

ZHUJI, China, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The backcourt duo of Gao Shiyan and Zhang Fan contributed a total of 33 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as Shandong Heroes beat Beijing Royal Fighters 99-83 on Monday in the first round of the regular season of the 2020-21 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

The score seesawed at the beginning of the match, with the Beijing Royal Fighters holding a slender 25-24 lead in the first quarter.

Gao Shiyan, who joined Shandong from Liaoning during the offseason, helped Shandong to a 11-4 point run midway through the second period, giving Shandong a two-digit advantage before the break.

The Royal Fighters, who paraded a lineup of only Chinese players, struggled to find a way of trimming the deficit in the second half. Shandong had a 20-point advantage midway through the third quarter.

With 4:46 remaining on the clock, Royal Fighters' head coach Stephon Marbury benched veteran Sun Yue, signalling an end to the Beijing side's efforts.

"We found our pace in offense and had a wonderful, fantastic season start," said Shandong's head coach Gong Xiaobin.

"Gao is an experienced player, he can speed up our offensive pace this season," Gong added.

In another game played on Monday, the Liaoning Flying Leopards smashed the Tianjin Pioneers 121-108.

Guo Ailun of Liaoning led both sides with 39 points. Chinese rising star Zhang Zhenlin of Liaoning had a double-double performance with 13 points and 11 rebounds. ■

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