Stephon Marbury, live in China

He recently played his first game for Shanxi Zhongyu against the Dongguan Marco Polo.

The opposing team's point guard, Tre Kelley, had a huge night against Marbury, in the former All-Star's Chinese debut.

Marbury's team has been one of the worst teams in the Chinese Basketball Association. Yesterday they were playing the team just ahead of them in the standings. Alexander Chernykh, a Russian journalist who writes for sports.ru, happened to catch part of the game, and e-mails:

On Sunday there was another game on, which I didn't really watch, but didn't switch the channel. Then all of a sudden I notice the score: 101 - 101, and then there's Marbury running around.

Marbury had a chance to win the game with his team trailing 101-102 and the ball in his hands with five seconds to go, but he chose to pass to Maurice Taylor for a 3-pointer. Asia-basket.com writes that Marbury shot 0-6 on 3s for the game and his complete line was 15 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals.

I liked it how Stephon easily gets himself a bottle of water (with gestures), and then discusses a set play with the coach (gestures and talking).

Here's some grainy video of the closing moments:

On the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report, Loretta Chao and Sue Feng write that many viewers in China did not get to see the game, but nevertheless plenty of fans weren't happy with Marbury's play:

Marbury’s Chinese fans weren’t thrilled with his performance, but many said it was understandable. In a (very unscientific) poll on Sina.com, one of China’s most popular Web portals, 80% of almost 1,600 respondents right after the game voted that Marbury wasn’t playing up to his normal standard.

“Marbury’s skill was great, but the cooperation of his teammates was bad,” wrote one commenter on Sina. Others said Marbury passed more than they would have liked—one user going by “neo_liu” said “Marbury was not in his usual form…for the last shot, he passed the ball to Taylor with only two second left. How could the ball make it in? If it were Kobe, he would have made the shot!”

In response to the criticisms, some fans like “Jordon Yue” urged others to be patient. “Marbury still needs time, cheer up!” he wrote.

On his microblog, Marbury was apologetic. “im sorry about the game last night. i wish we would have won for you guys. i will get better every game, i promise. i hope all is well with you guys and thanks for the support last night.”