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BEIJING - Defending champions Guangdong Hongyuan edged Xinjiang Guanghui 95-92 to take the first victory in the best-of-five series at the semifinal clash of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league on Sunday.
Guangdong shooter Zhu Fangyu, who was ranked the best scorer ever in CBA history this season, made two free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Guangdong forward Wang Shipeng shot down five three pointers to get the team-high 23 points. Guard Aaron Brooks made 21 points and six rebounds. Center James Singleton collected 12 points and 16 rebounds.
The two teams had met in last three straight CBA finals, and Sunday's game was their fourth straight encounter in CBA playoffs.
The away team Guangdong took early advantage with Wang Shipeng's 9 points in the first quarter. After Guangdong establishing a 21-13 lead, hosts Xinjiang made an 8-1 spurt to catch up. Brooks led Guangdong to extend the advantage to 12 points in the second quarter, but Xinjiang's Tim Pickett and Ike Diogu kept scoring to help Xinjiang trim the gap. Guangdong ended the first half 52-45.
Both teams enhanced their defense in the second half. Xinjiang levelled the score 67-67 in the third quarter, but Guangdong made another spurt to extend the gap to 11 points.
Xinjiang refused to give up, delivering a 8-0 to trim the gap to one point with 78 seconds left. Guangdong missed two straight shots, but took both offensive rebounds in the final minute, and Xinjiang failed to make the last three pointer after Zhu's two free throws.
"There are some problems in our offensive side," said Xijiang coach Jiang Xingquan, "but our players did their best."
Xinjiang guard Pickett contributed 24 points and 10 rebounds. Center Bateer harvested 17 points and 10 rebounds. Diogu got 17 points.
In the other semifinal, Stephon Marbury's 42 points wasn't enough for Beijing Ducks to get the victory on Shanxi Zhongyu's home court. Shanxi kept scoring all through the game to beat the capital team 122-119.
Shanxi forward Marcus Williams made 40 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Charles Gaines contributed 25 points and 18 rebounds.
Beijing's Marbury took home 42 points and four assists. Randolph Morris bagged 26 points and nine rebounds.
The mudslide occurred at an iron ore mine in the Araltobe township of Xinyuan county, Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, a spokesman for the prefecture's fire brigade said.