The NBL All-Australian Team started hot and then with Chris Goulding and Cam Gliddon delivering late, claimed Game 2 against Team China on Sunday night in Hengyang winning 58-55.
It was a dominant opening from the NBL All-Australian Team who had won Game 1 in Jiyuan on Friday night 64-52 to open the three-game series.
They hit the opening seven points of the game and then led 13-4 by quarter-time and still 24-16 by half-time.
But Team China got rolling in the third period putting up 25 points to head into the fourth leading by one before the game received a thrilling finish.
A huge four-point play from Chris Goulding (16 points) initially put the NBL All-Australian Team back up by three with 7:20 remaining.
But it was Zhao Tailong (15 points, 5/7 from beyond the arc) with two quick threes that looked set to give Team China the win.
However, Goulding then nailed another triple to make it a one-point game and then David Barlow (two points, three assists) found Cameron Gliddon (five points) twice – firstly for a tough finish at the basket and then an open three for the 56-54 advantage.
Liu Zhixuan (eight points) missed a late three-point attempt for China and Gliddon grabbed the defensive board to secure the three-point win for the team made up of some of the best players from the NBL.
Neither team had great shooting nights in Hengyang with the NBL All-Australian Team going 21/59 from the field at 35.6 per cent and just 5/28 from long range at 17.8 per cent.
Team China missed their opening eight attempts from deep but ended up going 7/24 and just 16/40 from the floor at 32 per cent.
The NBL team did have 13 first half turnovers but just five in the second half while Team China had 21 for the night as the All-Australian Team’s pressure told.
Along with the 16 points for the NBL All-Australian Team from Goulding, Daniel Kickert delivered another 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals with Brad Newley contributing nine points and seven boards, and Angus Brandt eight points and seven rebounds.
Once against it was Team China’s seven-footer Wang Zhelin who provided the biggest headaches and had 20 points and eight rebounds on 6/9 from the field and 8/12 from the free-throw line.
NBL All-Australian Team coach Andrej Lemanis was happy with the fight shown by his group to find a way to win.
“I think it was a very good game of basketball for both teams with various runs both ways,” Lemanis said.
“I thought China did a good job of picking up their defence to work back into the game. We had 18 turnovers that I think is a sign of the defensive troubles they gave us, and we didn’t shoot the ball well from the three-point line.
“We had our troubles scoring but I was proud of the way our team hung in there and found a way to win what was a very tight game.”
It was an impressive opening from the NBL All-Australian Team starting with Daniel Kickert scoring before five points from Chris Goulding for the 7-0 start.
Another bucket from Kickert, dunk from Angus Brandt and Adam Gibson getting in the mix soon made it 13-4 by quarter-time.
A pair of Brad Newley free-throws and a finish to Jesse Wagstaff put the visitors up 17-4 early in the second period. It was 23-8 not long after before Team China finally hit their first triple of the game after eight misses.
That sparked an 8-0 run for the home team but the All-Australian side was still up 24-16 at the break with both teams shooting a combined 3-25 from long range.
The NBL side’s lead grew to 10 to start the second half with a post basket to Jesse Wagstaff. A Kickert three still put his team up 29-21 remaining before Team China caught fire with an 8-0 run.
When Wang Zhelin was too big inside again, he gave Team China their first lead of the night at 31-30 with 4:40 left. The home team’s lead was out to four when Zhao Tailong hit a three, but two late buckets to Newley had the NBL All-Australian Team within one at three quarter-time.
Brandt put them on top again to start the fourth period before a four-point play from Goulding when he hit the triple and made the extra with 7:20 late put the All-Australians up 46-43.
Shortly after with a pair of three to Team China from Zhao Tailong and they were up 52-48, but Goulding and Gliddon were the difference down the stretch to help the NBL All-Australian Team win by three.
Game 3 will then be in Beijing on Tuesday at 7.50pm.
NBL ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM 58 (Chris Goulding 16, Daniel Kickert 11, Brad Newley 8)
TEAM CHINA 55 (Wang Zhelin 20, Zhao Tailong 15, Liu Zhixuan 8)