Yao boosts Rockets to victory in front of hometown crowd
Shanghai, China (Sports Network) – Yao Ming returned to his hometown of
Shanghai and collected 14 points and seven rebounds, as the Houston Rockets
rallied to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 88-86, in the first of two preseason
matchups comprising the 2004 China Games.
The same two clubs will meet Sunday in Beijing (12:01 a.m. et).
Tracy McGrady chipped in 12 points and Juwan Howard and Jim Jackson added 11
apiece for the Rockets. Howard also pulled down 12 rebounds. Dikembe Mutombo
had 10 points and nine boards in the win.
Brad Miller paced the Kings with 19 points. Mike Bibby finished with 17 points
and Chris Webber contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento
The Kings led by five points entering the fourth quarter, as Webber’s three-
pointer from 60 feet away at the third-quarter buzzer staked Sacramento to a
72-67 advantage after 36 minutes.
The Kings stretched the margin to nine early in the fourth quarter, before
Houston battled back. Tyronn Lue’s steal and subsequent layup gave the Rockets
an 83-81 lead with 2:25 remaining.
David Bluthenthal then nailed a three-pointer to put Sacramento back in front,
but David Hawkins answered with a basket for Houston to give the Rockets an
85-84 advantage with 1:23 left.
After the teams traded a pair of free throws apiece, Lue made 1-of-2 attempts
from the line to give Houston an 88-86 lead. Sacramento had one final chance,
but Darius Songaila’s jumper was blocked by Howard.