DALLAS -- There's a new fan favorite in town. Yi Jianlian made his home debut for the Dallas Mavericks midway through the fourth quarter of Friday's rout of the Milwaukee Bucks to a rousing standing ovation.
Then, every time the 7-foot Chinese center/forward touched the ball, the sellout crowd at the American Airlines Center went nuts.
"It felt great," Yi said. "I’m really excited to be on a championship team."
Yi scored his first points as a Maverick on 16-foot jumper with 4:27 left. It made the score 99-69 and the crowd practically went into hysterics.
He finished the game 1-of-3 from the floor and 1-of-2 at the free throw line for three points. He also managed a steal, a turnover and two fouls as the Mavs' reserves closed out the 102-76 victory.
Yi is more accustomed to playing forward, but Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he will play more center. Yi, more of a perimeter shooter and a physical, inside presence, said that's fine by him.
"For me, it doesn’t matter, I can play both positions," Yi said. "I’m just going to go do my thing."