Team China has hit back on Tuesday night to win 82-62 in Game 3 in Beijing but only after the NBL All-Australian Team had already secured the series with wins in the opening two contests.
The NBL All-Australian Team had done well winning Game 1 in 64-52 in Jiyuan on Friday night before securing the series victory by prevailing 58-55 in Hengyang on Sunday night.
The final game of the annual tour to China then took place in Beijing on Tuesday night and the home team responded with a fast start never giving up that advantage, going on to win by 20 points.
Team China made a flying start hitting the game’s opening nine points in direct contrast to the NBL All-Australian Team hitting the first seven points on Sunday evening.
The NBL outfit never gave up the ghost and had closed to within one late in the first quarter. That’s as close as they would get, though, with Team China leading by as much as 20 which was the final margin.
There was a stark difference in the shooting from both teams in Game 3 with Team China hitting 54.0 per cent from the floor and 8/18 from three-point range. The NBL All-Australian Team struggled with 35.1 per cent from the field and 4/25 from beyond the arc.
Melbourne United veteran and four-time NBL championship winner David Barlow showed he still has plenty left in the tank top-scoring for the All-Australian Team with 16 points on 6/7 shooting.
New Sydney Kings signing Daniel Kickert delivered another 13 points and four rebounds making his five two-point attempts and missing all five threes.
Craig Moller added six points and three rebounds, Cam Gliddon six points and Brad Newley five, Angus Brandt four, Jesse Wagstaff four and Chris Goulding four.
It was the most impressive performance from Team China across the series with swingman Abudushalamu Abudurexiti top-scoring with 20 points on 5/7 shooting including 3/5 from beyond the arc.
Sun Minghui also had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists for Team China while big man Wang Zhelin had another 14 points and five boards despite playing just 19 minutes.
Rui Zhao also scored 10 points while having three steals.
NBL All-Australian Team coach Andrej Lemanis gave full credit to Team China for their performance.
“Team China played very well tonight and came out with a very good energy, and a determination. I thought we came out without that same energy and then we got behind in the game and were never really able to dig our way out of it,” Lemanis said.
“China kept making plays when they needed to and kept the lead, and all credit to them. They played really well and ultimately what this series is about is teams learning and getting better from the games in preparation for the FIBA qualifying window in a couple of weeks.”
Team China made a hot start with Wang Zhelin scoring the first six points and Sun Minghui drilling a triple for the 9-0 start before the NBL All-Australian Team got on the board courtesy of Daniel Kickert.
But Team China kept their momentum going to lead 13-2 forcing Lemanis into a timeout.
The NBL line-up soon got going but only after back-to-back China threes from Abudushalamu Abudurexiti and Zhao Tailong.
But the All-Australians then went on a 10-0 run courtesy of David Barlow and Craig Moller who provided a spark off the bench to make the margin just a point.
Team China had extended the lead back to six by quarter-time before a couple of threes from Chris Goulding and Cameron Gliddon had the visitors within touch early in the second.
The home team had all the answers and went into the long break leading 48-30 having shot a phenomenal 60.7 per cent from the floor and drilling 7/12 from deep. The NBL side had struggled at 32.3 per cent and 3/13 from beyond the arc.
Team China then lived out the foul line through the third quarter with nine of their 18 points coming at the stripe while a quick spark from both Brad Newley and Jesse Wagstaff with four-point runs, and then a Barlow three kept the visiting side within 13 at three quarter-time.
There would be no comeback, though, with China romping to the 20-point win to close the series with the NBL All-Australian Team winning 2-1.
GAME 3 – BEIJING
NBL ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM 62 (David Barlow 16, Daniel Kickert 13)
TEAM CHINA 82 (Abudushalamu Abudurexiti 20, Sun Minghui 16, Wang Zhelin 14)