The only two Chinese players currently in the starting lineup for NBA teams will face off in New Jersey Monday night, at 7:30 p.m. EST (8:30 a.m. Tuesday Beijing time). It is the third meeting, and the first this year, for Yao Ming (姚明) and Yi Jianlian (易建联). The game will air live on CCTV’s sports channel.
The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen broke down in Sunday’s paper why this year’s Yao-Yi meeting won’t match last year’s for fanfare–Yao is focused on leading a surging Rockets team that is a serious playoff contender, and seems to see Yi and the Nets as just another opponent that needs to go down.
Yao has had a strong season so far, averaging 20 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. He has averaged 27 points over the last three games and was clutch in a weekend win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. His team has won five of its last six games.
Yi and the Nets are a different story. The team has dropped five of its last seven games, and Yi is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds. He did notch a double-double against Dallas last Friday, but he’s been held to one or fewer field goals six times this season.
Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian image: Tianjin Daily
For more China sports news, check out China Sports Today.