Chinese basketball stars Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian faced off Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., but it was rookie John Wall who stole the show with a triple-double as the Wizards (2-4) defeated the Houston Rockets 98-91.
The 7-6 Yao, who helped make basketball the most popular sport in China, had to leave the game after six minutes because of a strained tendon in his left foot. Meanwhile, his protégé, the 7-foot Yi, had his best game in a Wizards uniform, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and blocking four shots in front of 16,665 on Asian American night at Verizon Center in a game that more than 400,000 people in China were expected to watch early in the morning.
Wall and Yi hooked up for one of the plays of the game in the third quarter, when Wall passed to Yi for one of his 13 assists. Yi drove past Luis Scola of the Rockets (1-6) on the baseline and threw down a dunk to give Washington a 68-63 lead late in the third quarter.
Wall became the sixth player in the history of the NBA to have a triple-double in the first six games of his career. One of those players was Magic Johnson, who was in attendance, sitting to the left of the Wizards’ bench next to owner Ted Leonsis.
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