Yao, Rockets enjoy home court edge

With a home crowd in Guangzhou, China, chanting his name, Yao Ming looked sharp as he tested his surgically repaired foot Saturday in helping the Houston Rockets beat the New Jersey Nets, 95-85, in a preseason game.

Yao scored 10 points in this showcase for the 7-foot-5 center who has spurred the growth of basketball in China. Easing his way back after sitting out last season, Yao made several deft hook shots during his 18 minutes on the court. When he wasn’t playing, he rode an exercise bike on the sideline.

Yao shot 5 of 8 from the field, had five rebounds and was selected the game’s most valuable player. He left to chants from the fans with nine minutes to go in a game marking the debut of the Guangzhou International Sports Arena.


LeBron James returned to practice with the Heat on Saturday, reporting no problems with his ailing right hamstring. The NBA’s two-time reigning MVP was sidelined by a hamstring cramp during an exhibition game against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday and had not played or practiced since. Bucks center Andrew Bogut’s return from injuries to his right arm and hand was delayed Saturday night because of a migraine headache. Bogut was expected to start in the Bucks’ exhibition game at Memphis, but he ran off the floor less than an hour before game time. Forward Antawn Jamison and swingman Anthony Parker missed the Cavaliers’ exhibition game Saturday night against CSKA Moscow because of injuries. Both were injured Thursday night against San Antonio. Jamison sprained his left knee; Parker sprained two fingers on his right (shooting) hand.