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June 23, 2017

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Bonzi Wells scores 48 in China debut

BEIJING -- Former NBA bad boy Bonzi Wells scored 48 points and snared 11 rebounds in his Chinese league debut, helping the Shanxi Zhongyu to a 107-106 win over Tianjin.

Wells shot 17-37 from the floor, including 5-15 three-pointers, and had seven steals in Sunday's game, giving his new club a glimpse of how the 10-year NBA veteran can help them in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season.

"I was really nervous before the game and I was only thinking about turning my nerves into energy," Wells said through a Chinese translator.

"I never thought that today I would score 48 points," he said. "That is not my normal style."

Wells averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in his NBA career, spent with Memphis, Sacramento, Houston and the Portland Trail Blazers — who became known as the "Jail Blazers" for their frequent run-ins with the law.

In Shanxi, he is teaming up with former NBA coach Bob Weiss, hoping to boost Shanxi's chances of escaping their last-place finish in the 2007-2008 season.

Shanxi is currently in seventh place (9-7) but Wells is expected to turn the club into one of the CBA's elite.

Wells played 45 minutes on Sunday night. Last season, each team's two foreign players were only allowed to play a total of 60 minutes a game, but this year both foreigners can play the entire game.

Besides Wells, four-year NBA guard Kirk Snyder, former Indiana center David Harrison and one-time Golden State Warrior Chris Porter are just a few of several Americans playing in China.

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