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NBL All-Australians finish Chinese series with a win
The NBL All-Australian side made sure they didn't leave China empty handed, claiming an 89-75 win in game three in Dongguan.
Jerome Randle (19 points), Daniel Kickert (19 points), and Jeremy Kendle (20 points) led the charge for Rob Beveridge's side.
Despite some questionable officiating, the visitors managed to pull away late and claim the win they had been yearning for.
The NBL All-Australians headed into the game without Jesse Wagstaff, however their defensive intensity was good early.
Jerome Randle recorded three steals in the opening four minutes of the game, which led to some easy baskets for his side.
Daniel Kickert was also very active, looking to score the ball, and having the job of guarding Chinese giant Han Dejun. The two traded baskets briefly, with the All-Australians using the pick-and-roll to their advantage.
Team China had plenty of good looks on offence in the first period, however they didn't take full advantage shooting 2/9 from deep.
The visitors' ability to rotate well on defence meant they had a 19-15 lead at quarter time. A late dunk to Lucas Walker being one of the highlights.
The second quarter didn't start out the way the NBL All-Australian's hoped, with a questionable continuation call given to the Chinese. Moments later Jerome Randle was pinned with an offensive foul.
It was around this time that Steve Carfino elegantly described the situation, stating, "Rob Beveridge's team is flat-out getting screwed".
The Chinese then began to get some cheap baskets and open looks that opened the All-Australians up.
As expected there was more angst between the two sides. China's Li Gen was seemingly involved in everything, however rarely had the ball in his hands.
With China attacking the game, and getting to the line on a number of occasions it looked like it could potentially head towards a double digit lead for the hosts.
Jeremy Kendle was having none of that, he caught fire and managed 10 points and an assist before the buzzer went for halftime.
Before the teams would head to the locker rooms, Todd Blanchfield looked to have secured himself a highlight play, with an impressive chase down block. However, the referees ruled it as goaltending. You be the judge.
Having lost the second quarter by six, the NBL All-Australians headed into the major break trailing 38-40.
Again the visitors didn't start well at the reset, with China scoring five straight points.
Jerome Randle managed to find his teammates in transition on multiple possessions to get the NBL side back in the game.
Daniel Kickert once again found his stroke from range (5/5 3P), with China struggling to defend the long ball.
There was more physicality between the sides in the third quarter. Back-to-back unsportsmanlike fouls were called, and then Nick Kay was given a technical for putting his hands in the air after a dubious call.
Kay would use it as motivation, going on to make a number of buckets and pushing Australia into the lead.
China did themselves no favours from the free-throw line, eventually shooting 2/10 from the charity stripe in the third quarter.
A Jerome Randle circus-style bank shot to beat the buzzer at the end of the period gave the All-Australian side a nine point lead going into the final break.
Rob Beveridge's team hadn't held a double-digit lead all series long, that was until Jeremy Kendle finished a lay-up at the start of the fourth quarter.
He backed it up not long after with a step-back three putting him to 20 points.
Jerome Randle earned possibly the NBL side's first cheer of the series, putting the moves on his defender before finishing at the rack. He would finish the game with 19 points, and five steals.
Daniel Kickert then hit from range again and pushed the lead out to 16 points.
Just as China began to think about a comeback, Mitch McCarron got Aussie fans off their couches at home with a put-back dunk off a missed three. He then followed it up by nailing a deep pull up three, all but sealing the game.
The NBL All-Australians would go onto win the game 89-75. Their shooting from beyond the arc was pivotal, finishing with 13 threes.
China "earned" 20 extra free throws than the visitors, however could only manage to knock down 50% of them.
The series finished with China winning 2-1. However those who featured for the All-Australians will no doubt be leaving better off for the experience.
Game 1 – Beijing China 68-66 NBL All-Australian Team
Game 2 – Jilin China 89-75 NBL All Australian Team
Game 3 – Dongguan China 75-89 NBL All Australian Team