Houston Rockets all-star center Yao Ming, fresh off a sterling performance in a victory over San Antonio on Tuesday, will play against 7-foot Bucks rookie and countryman Yi Jianlian on Friday night in Houston.
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, more than 100 million Chinese fans are expected to watch the game via a national telecast on CCTV or regional telecasts on networks in Shanghai and Guangdong province, to be aired live on Saturday morning in China.
Yao is from Shanghai, and Yi played the past five seasons for the Guangdong Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association.
The report said by quoting Bucks guard Charlie Bell: "Yi and Yao. I'm sure there's going to be more Chinese media there than American media. Just to see how he (Yi) is handling it. Sometimes you look at him, you don't know he's that young, just the way he plays out there on the court."
Yi scored 12 points and added four rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots in the Bucks' 112-85 victory over Toronto on Tuesday. That followed his 16-point, eight rebound performance on Saturday in a victory over the Chicago Bulls.
The newspaper also quoted Bucks guard Michael Redd as saying "we've just got to keep him focused, though. You've got to play basketball; it's Houston vs. Milwaukee. It's not Yi vs. Yao, even though it will be built up like that."
Yao scored 28 points and also had 13 rebounds and six assists in the Rockets' 89-81 victory over defending champion Spurs on Tuesday. "Yao definitely is a force now. You've got to double-team him now," said Redd.
Houston is off to an impressive 4-1 start under new coach Rick Adelman, with its only loss coming at Dallas on Monday night.
"Houston is one of those teams, when they're healthy, they're tough to beat," Bell s