Yao and The Dream

Posted in Basketball at 5:42 pm by Nicole

Yao Ming and Hakeem Olajuwon worked out on the floor at the Toyota Center today. Olajuwon looks like he could put on a Rockets kit and start for the team tomorrow – he’s still got all the moves.

Yao works out with Olajuwon (NBA.com)

Video of Yao and Olajuwon (Houston Chronicle)


Get ready for Yi Jianlian

Posted in Basketball at 1:54 pm by Nicole

He’s seven feet tall, he’s from China, and now ESPN.com is saying he might just be the third-best player in this year’s NBA draft behind Durant and Oden.

Two days with Yi Jianlian (ESPN.com)


Bigger than basketball – Derek Fisher

Posted in Basketball, General at 1:38 pm by Nicole

It’s not a China thing, and honestly, it’s not even a basketball thing – it’s bigger than that. Every CSB reader deserves to check out this story. It’s must-read stuff: the New York Times’ story on Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher and how he and his family are dealing with his ten-month-old daughter’s cancer diagnosis, right in the middle of the biggest Jazz postseason in a decade. Kudos to the Times for excellent, in-depth reporting on a rare form of eye cancer and Fisher’s struggle to make the right decision for his daughter.

Fisher is a father first, and a Jazz player later (NYTimes.com)


Must-See TV

Posted in Basketball at 12:00 pm by Nicole

A CSB reader sent this link along – it’s a television commercial for McDonald’s that he saw in Shanghai. A complete remake of one of the most famous NBA-themed commercials ever in American television…and it’s spectacular – and amazing to see the new guys in the starring roles, Yi Jianlian (易建联) and Zhu Fangyu (朱芳雨).

Thanks to Terence Lau for this link:

China’s version of the classic Jordan/Bird McDonald’s commercial

And if you’d like to see the original, here it is (with Spanish dubbing – how much more international can this game get???):

The original Jordan/Bird McDonald’s commercial in Spanish

And in English:

The original original Jordan/Bird commercial

Have at it at YouTube for lots more video of Yi Jianlian…there are too many clips there to post here, but it’s a gold mine.


Posted in Basketball at 11:54 am by Nicole

Tough weekend in Houston. Two great teams get together, play their guts out, and somebody has to go home empty-handed. This time around, it was the Rockets – a tough loss for them. Hopefully it’s one that will help the team reach greater heights next season – they’re super-close to having a real championship contender and it was a question of execution on just a few plays that made the difference for this series. As always, the Houston Chronicle’s NBA page has all the latest news on the Rockets and will continue coverage of the off-season transactions.


It’s now or never

Posted in Basketball at 5:52 pm by Nicole

It was a tough scene in the Rockets’ postgame locker room last night – and a stunning turn of events. Earlier in the week, the press had made all kinds of news over Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko, a former All-Star who just couldn’t find his game in Game 1 of this series, dissolving into tears while talking to the media after the Sunday morning practice in Houston. Last night, after coming within a point of tying the game in the fourth quarter, the Rockets dissolved and the Jazz took charge in the most partisan, loud arena I’ve ever been in for a basketball game. (Never before have I seen a crowd boo the visiting team for the entire length of every possession. Houston’s loud, but they’re not actively trying to unnerve the Jazz all the time. Note to Utah fans: doesn’t make you look great.) Kirilenko in particular was stunning, swatting away Yao shots and just being everywhere all the time. The Jazz won, of course, to force Game 7 in Houston tomorrow night. After the game, Yao Ming, who had eight turnovers and way too many missed shots, said during his comments to the media “My career is on the line.” And he looked like he was the one who was about to start crying.

But this has been the sixth-man series the whole way through – the home team always wins, and that bodes well for Houston tomorrow night. It’s going to be a great game – and kudos all around to the Rockets and Jazz, classy athletes all, and their organizations for having had an amazingly competitive series in this first-round matchup. The Golden State Warriors (!) will have a very worthy opponent in either of these teams in the conference semifinals.

Houston fans, read the coverage here.

Utah fans, read the coverage here.


Spurs and Suns clinch; can Rockets and Warriors do the same?

Posted in Basketball at 5:28 am by Nicole

I’m salivating over the possibility of a Rockets-Warriors second round just because I used to live in the Bay Area and it would be really fabulous to get back there for a visit…But seriously, it’s about time the Western Conference got teams advancing into the second round of play. San Antonio and Phoenix played wonderfully last night to advance, both 4-1, against the Nuggets and Lakers, respectively. The CSB is in Salt Lake City for Game 6 of the Rockets-Jazz series and it’s going to be great. This has been a home-court series through and through – Houston just couldn’t get its game on when they were here last week for Games 3 and 4, and then finally in Houston for Game 5, it looked like the visiting team might just pull off a win…but the Rockets pulled through (Yao made two critical free throws down the stretch to seal the victory).

Game tonight is at 6 p.m. Mountain time…that’s 8 p.m. Eastern U.S. time and Friday 8 a.m. in China.