MILWAUKEE — China’s biggest basketball star scored 12 points and struggled on defense. The country’s fresh new face shot 1 for 10 from the field.
Not exactly what the 200 million people tuning in hoped to see.
The second edition of Yao vs. Yi didn’t quite live up to its billing as the “Chinese Super Bowl” as Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets beat Yi Jianlian and the Milwaukee Bucks 91-83 on Saturday despite relatively quiet nights by both of China’s biggest basketball exports.
“Both of us struggled a little bit, but we got the win,” Yao said.
Yao did manage a team-high 12 rebounds for Houston after getting into early foul trouble and tweaking his ankle just before halftime.
Yi was banged up as well, scoring six points after hurting his shoulder early in the game. But the Bucks rookie didn’t blame his poor shooting on his injury and tried to keep the significance of Saturday’s game in perspective.
Can you imagine Yao or Yi in an NBA Finals? Can you imagine both of them in an All-Star game at the same time? Entering China was a brilliant move by David Stern; the globalization of the NBA is a great thing, enjoy the ride!