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Yao Is a Hit in Return to Shanghai

October 15, 2004|From Associated Press

Yao Ming was the star in the NBA's first game in China, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets past the Sacramento Kings, 88-86, in an exhibition game Thursday.

There was a capacity crowd at Shanghai's city gymnasium to cheer the 7-foot-6 center, whose return has dominated headlines in his hometown. The crowd chanted Yao's name repeatedly -- even when he wasn't on the court.

However, he missed his first two shots and was shaky defensively at the start. His first points came on a dunk seven minutes into the first quarter.

"I didn't play a great game. I was really nervous in the first half. It was almost like the feeling I had playing in my first NBA game," Yao said. "I felt suffocated and I just wanted to find an exit, but I just tried to focus on technical details and then things settled down."

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The NBA has no plans to change its rules for the three-point shot, though it will proceed with an experiment for its developmental league in which all field goals will be worth two points until the final five minutes of regulation and overtime.

"This is not a rule for consideration in the NBA and has never been discussed by the competition committee," NBA Vice President Stu Jackson said, adding he expects the NBDL to approve the experiment for the season that begins Nov. 19.

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The New York Knicks scored the first 21 points of the fourth quarter to defeat the New Jersey Nets, 92-84, at Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in the exhibition opener for both teams. The Knicks turned a 74-63 deficit after three quarters into a 85-74 lead with 3:11 left.... Antawn Jamison made a floater in the lane with 6.8 seconds left in the second overtime at Charlotte, N.C., to lift the Washington Wizards past the Bobcats, 126-125, in Charlotte's return to the NBA.

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