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Chinese NBA fans have a blast in Shanghai

By Ni Yinbin (Shanghai Daily)

15:05, October 15, 2012

One of the participants soars to perform a dunking trick during the NBA's Fan Appreciation Day in Shanghai. The Miami Heat takes on the Los Angeles Clippersyesterday.(Shanghai Daily/Wang Rongjiang)

The National Basketball Association held its first ever Fan Appreciation Day on Oct.13 in Shanghai as a warm-up for the NBA China gameyesterday.

More than 10,000 fans gathered yesterday noon at the Oriental Sports Center in Pudong New Area and watched the preseason training of the NBA defending champions Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, a rising force in the Western Conference.

The 2012 NBA China game in Shanghai will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Pudong today and is a sellout. In the first of the two preseason games in China, the Heat defeated the Clippers 94-80 in Beijing on Thursday when the latter's injured All-Star point guard Chris Paul was on the bench.

Paul, however, is expected to make his debut this season today if yesterday's training, in which he was wearing the starter jersey, is anything to go by. After winning the gold medal at the London Olympics with Team USA, Paul had a thumb surgery and has been rehabilitating since.

"Paul is a very good player and with his presence things would be much different in the second game," said Miami's coach Erik Spoelstra yesterday. "As I said this is not a regular preseason game, to me the atmosphere here makes me think of the playoffs."

In Paul's absence in the first game, the Clippers made 25 turnovers under the suffocating defense of the Heat.

With veterans Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis joining in the offseason, the Heat shooters will have more opportunities and Spoelstra is hoping the two will gel with the team quickly.

Meanwhile, yesterday's fan day also marked an end of Shanghai's "shoot a million" basketball shooting event, in which a million shots were made in the past months across the city as part of the city games. Dwayne Wade, two-time champion player of the Heat, made the one millionth shot with a double handed dunk yesterday. "The atmosphere here is incredible and the fans are just great," he told reporters.

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