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Teams try to make peace after McGrady elbows Ji
Qingdao Eagles forward Tracy McGrady played his toughest CBA road contest on Sunday in Beijing, losing both the game, 116-102, and the hometown crowd's support after a skirmish with Beijing forward Ji Zhe.
After a 3-pointer in McGrady's face early in the fourth quarter, Ji wagged his finger at McGrady as he trotted back on defense. An angry McGrady retaliated with an elbow to the chest, knocking Ji to the floor.
The referees called a flagrant foul on McGrady, and fans began booing the former NBA All-Star's every possession.
A fierce battle broke out later on micro blogs.
Ji shrugged off the hostility.
"Did I wave my finger? I can't remember what I did," he said after the game. "Maybe I was too excited to control my emotions, but whatever - I didn't do it intentionally to (make him mad)."
A poll on sina.com on Monday showed most fans supporting McGrady. About 74 percent of participants (53,908 votes) agreed "Ji should be blamed for enraging McGrady first".
"I think it's just a normal on-court incident that happened when players lost their heads in a high-intensity game," said Beijing coach Min Lulei. "Anyway, it's not necessary to do that and Ji should really avoid making a defiant gesture again."
McGrady, who scored a CBA career-high 37 points in what was Qingdao's seventh defeat in a row, didn't attend the news conference after the game or accept any interviews.
Qingdao coach Zhang Shizhang said he will remind McGrady not to lose his temper.
"He's a veteran in the NBA and he has experienced everything on the court," he said. "I believe he won't make that mistake again."
Shanghai to keep Arenas
Although the Shanghai Sharks signed former import Ryan Kelly back to replace Gilbert Arenas on the roster, it doesn't mean the club will drop the injured former NBA All-Star.
"It's definitely not like the reports saying that we have cut him off. Arenas will stay with the team to do his rehab and train for a full recovery," Arenas' Chinese agent Sha Yifeng told Shanghai-based Youth Daily on Sunday.
"He's still far from 100 percent healthy right now, and it's not the right time to let him play."
According to the announcement on the club's website, its deal with Kelly is game-by-game.
"The decision was made to improve our current performance. You can't win enough games to qualify for the playoffs with only one foreigner," said Zhang Chi, Shanghai's deputy general manager.
Zhang said Arenas still needs at least a week.
(China Daily 12/11/2012 page23)