SHENZHEN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Guangdong's CBA All-Star player Yi Jianlian scored only 15 points in the Game 3 and 4 of their semifinal clash against Shenzhen. But Guangdong coach Du Feng and teammate Carlos Boozer still spoke highly of Yi.
Yi, widely considered the best basketball player in China after Yao Ming retired in 2011, finished only eight points and eight rebounds from 37 minutes on Friday.
Du said that Yi played an important role in Guangdong's 90-81 win over Shenzhen on Friday, which put them within one victory of reaching the CBA finals.
"Yi played with injury, which affected his performance." said Du. "Maybe he didn't score a lot but he can still offer a lot to our defense and to protect our boards. His cover and assists also helped a lot. As long as he's on the court, Yi is the leader and core of the team. I think every player should learn from his professionalism."
These views were echoed by Yi's teammate Boozer. The former NBA all-star power-forward finished with 27 points, but he said Yi's performance was more important than his match-high points.
"We all knew that Yi was not at his 100 percent. But he still decided to play. His appearance on court just gave us more confidence to play," said Boozer. "No matter he scored 30 or only two points, he is sacrificing himself for the team and doing good things for the team. I'm honored to play with a guy like him."