Around the Rim: Wow-wee, Yao, Yi!



Yup, it’s that big.

1. Big players, big audience
The most anticipated game in the world will go down tonight as two of the league’s giants match-up. To Americans it’s the Rockets and the Bucks, but to the Chinese it’s Yao Ming vs. Yi Jianlian. The two sensations from China go head-to-head for the first time tonight and the game is expected to be seen by more than 200 million people in China. Over there it will be early Saturday morning and instead of cartoons, 19 different TV stations will broadcast the game, including the country’s government-run station, and it will be offered on the web. People can even watch the game on their cell phones. Of course, here in the States, ESPN is showing Denver and Washington. Nice call guys.

2. Mavs beat Warriors a few months too late

Sure, it doesn’t matter, but the Mavericks finally got a small measure of revenge against the Warriors. It was another nail-biting, down-to-the-wire contest between the clubs with Jerry Stackhouse hitting a dagger shot in the final minute that led to Dallas’ 120-115 victory. Barron Davis did everything he could to try and carry his team, including a sweet reverse slam off the backboard, but his 37 points just weren’t enough and Golden States slips to 0-5. Davis had a shot late to tie the game up, but it didn’t fall. Stephen Jackson missed the game due to a suspension and it’s arguable that , had he played, the Warriors might not be winless. Of course that’s making the huge assumption that he could actually stay on the court for an entire game and not get slapped with a pair of techs.

3. Seattle’s permanent road trip
There’s been much speculation around the future of the Seattle SuperSonics and their possible relocation to become the Oklahoma SuperSonics. David Stern weighed in on the situation Thursday and he pretty much told the Seattle faithful that they are screwed should the team bolt. “I’d love to find a way to keep the team there,” Stern said, “because if the team moves, there’s not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad.” Those are pretty harsh words, but it shouldn’t be that difficult of an adjustment for the fans. After all, Seattle hasn’t really had a team since Gary Payton was lobbing alley-oops to Shawn Kemp in the 90s.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Baron Davis vs. Dallas 48 min, 37 pts (FG: 14-26, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 6-9), 5 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (4-1) @ New Orleans (4-1)
We know that all of China will be watching Milwaukee @ Houston, but we’re telling you that SA/NO is where the action will be. We know exactly what to expect on one side of the ball; the Spurs are still the Spurs and they are still playing Spurs ball with the same Spurs cast. It’s the Hornets who are turning heads early in the year. Chris Paul is playing lights-out, averaging 18.6 points and 12.4 assists to go along with the team’s emerging duo of Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic who serve as the inside/outside threats. New Orleans should give the Spurs a run for their money in this game and possibly the entire season as they both race toward the Southwest Division championship.

Buzzer Beater: Going into last night’s game, the Bulls were winless and their rivals, the Pistons, were lossless. So, of course, both streaks would be snapped by the end of the night as Chicago beat Detroit 97-93. Nobody actually thought that the Bulls were a 0-4 caliber team after starting the season slowly and they proved everyone right as they rallied around a huge night from Tyrus Thomas (19 pts, 14 reb). Luol Deng chipped in 17 points, Ben Gordon had 16 and Kirk Hinrich dished out 14 assists. Joakim Noah even shut his trap long enough to score the third and fourth points of his career. The Pistons aren’t washed up by any stretch of the imagination, but this could be the beginning of a big year for the Bulls as they look to shed the final pounds from their Baby Bulls image.

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