In the second week of their 2018-19 season, Al Jefferson and his Xianjiang Flying Tigers hit their first bump in the road, but by the end of the week, they were able to get back on track.
After starting their season 3-0, the Flying Tigers had a difficult challenge awaiting on Sunday, in a matchup with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, a team that features former NBA players Yi Jianlian and Sonny Weems. Those two combined for 47 points and 19 rebounds, and they proved to be too much for the Flying Tigers to stop.
Big Al chipped in 10 points and nine boards in 28 minutes off the bench, but Guangdong otherwise stifled the Flying Tigers on the offensive end, holding Xinjiang to just 38 percent from the floor for the game. Star scorer Darius Adams poured in 25 points, but the Southern Tigers made sure they didn’t come easy, and Guangdong remained undefeated after a 112-95 victory over Big Al’s squad.
Xinjiang’s next matchup against Guangzhou featured another former NBA player in Marreese Speights. Matched up with his fellow NBA vet, Al posted his best game with the Flying Tigers, recording 19 points and 10 rebounds, on 9-14 shooting off the bench.
However, despite No. 25’s first double-double in China, it wasn’t enough to secure a victory as Speights and Kyle Fogg led the way for a Guangzhou to a narrow 106-101 victory over Xinjiang, handing them their second consecutive loss to drop them to 3-2 on the young season.
But Al and his fellow Flying Tigers made sure the skid stopped there when they matched up with Jared Sullinger and the Shenzhen Leopards on Friday.
Coming off of back-to-back losses and looking to get back on track, Xinjiang engaged in a track meet with Shenzen, one in which they ultimately prevailed.
Darius Adams poured in 45 points, including eight threes and Big Al was extremely efficient, posting eight points on 4-6 shooting and grabbing seven boards in just 15 minutes of action. Abudushalamu Abudurexiti posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds
Sullinger posted monster numbers in the game, going for 31 points and 17 rebounds, while the former Florida Gator, Kenny Boynton, piled up 34 points of his own off the bench. However, those performances weren’t enough to overcome a huge performance from Darius Adams, Big Al and the rest of the Flying Tigers to get back in the win column, giving them a 4-2 record through six games.