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Déjà vu at CBA fracas
A fracas that broke out during and after the fourth game of the Beijing Ducks-Shanxi Brave Dragons best-of-five CBA semi-finals on Sunday night made headlines. Some Brave Dragons fans, furious over what they thought were bad calls by the referees late in the game, flung things at the court, which interrupted the game for 7 minutes before it was finally won by the Brave Dragons 102-100.
But it wasn't over. A male fan claimed he was attacked by Ducks' Stephon Marbury with a bottle after post-game interviews. It was at this moment that the remaining fans, several hundred in number, were ignited as they began to throw fists at the Ducks players and later attacked their bus, refusing to let them leave.
Marbury called the riot "embarrassing" while he and his teammates were trapped on the bus and later denied he had any confrontation with fans. He also called on Ducks fans to behave civil at the final game, which was postponed by CBA authorities until Sunday.
You all get a feeling of déjà vu? Yes, I wrote about similar chaos during a Beijing-Liaoning CBA game and another one of the Bayi Rockets-Zhejiang Golden Bulls, when JR Smith was still playing in China, in January. Even the penalties were the same – a 30,000 yuan fine for Brave Dragons and local organizing committee each for poor emergency measures.
Wang Xingjiang, Brave Dragons boss, blasted the referees after the game, saying, "The Brave Dragons are not afraid of another fight in Beijing if referees do not treat them fairly."
So what will it be like in and outside the Capital Steel Arena on Sunday? Will angry Beijing fans welcome the Brave Dragons with bricks and spit? What can security do in a potential return of violence? And how will the referees respond to their growing pressure? Resolutions are needed for them all.
Now we break even
Lin Dan won his fifth All England title on Sunday, when world number one Lee Chong Wei had to retire with a shoulder injury. So the record between the two is 1-1 in 2012. There are speculations that Lee may withdraw from the Thomas Cup in May, a precautionary move to rest up for the London Olympics.
Liu Xiang misses by a hair
Chinese ace hurdler Liu Xiang ran second at the men's 60m hurdles on Sunday at the IAAF world indoor championships, clocking 7.49 seconds. If he had not hit the second hurdle, which he rarely does, he would have had a decent chance at beating Aries Merritt from the US, who won with 7.44 seconds. Liu finished the indoor season with a gold, a silver and a false start in three events in Europe, a satisfactory result according to him. But we all know the real challenge has yet to come.
CSL opens on high note
Chinese Super League starts the 2012 season hot as 200,000 fans crowded into stadiums in eight games of the first round last weekend. All eyes are on the pending Guangzhou Evergrande-Guangzhou R&F derby and the Beijing Guo'an-Shanghai Shenhua clash, which have been sold out for a long time. Rooting for a soccer team is trending in China, no kidding.
Dario Conca of Guangzhou Evergrande scored twice in the reigning champion's first-round victory, 2-1 over the Shanghai Shenxin. He got his first child, a son named Benjamin, on Thursday. As a Chinese saying goes, "Good things should come in pairs."