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Hometown fave highlights China's first NBA game

BEIJING (AP) -- The crowd chanted Yao Ming's name all game, soaking up the novelty of the NBA in another tribute to a player who is fast becoming a one-man basketball marketing force in China.

Yao scored 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in 27 minutes in the Houston Rockets' 91-89 loss to Sacramento on Sunday. Bobby Jackson made a fallaway jumper from the right corner with 6.7 seconds left to win it for the Kings.

This was the second and final game of the NBA's exhibition tour of China. Yao led Houston over the Kings on Thursday in his hometown of Shanghai, and he received another enthusiastic welcome in Beijing from the crowd of 17,903.

"These two games have provided Chinese basketball fans with a special opportunity to experience the passion of NBA basketball," Yao said. "As for NBA marketing, I believe that is something Chinese businesspeople should learn from."

With Sacramento trailing 89-86 late in the fourth quarter, Jackson tied it with a 3-pointer. In the closing seconds, he took an inbounds pass from under the basket and hit an off-balance jumper as the shot clock expired.

Jackson and Brad Miller led Sacramento with 13 points each. For Houston, Juwan Howard finished with 15 points and NBA scoring leader Tracy McGrady added 14.

"They were just a lot quicker to the ball in the second half than we were," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Yao had five of our 22 turnovers, so turnovers were a problem for everybody."

Yao also played 27 minutes on Thursday, scoring 14 points in Houston's 88-86 victory in the NBA's first game in China. The NBA hopes the country's surging economy and swelling consumer class will make it a growing market for everything from jerseys to video games.

Van Gundy said he was glad the team made the long trip to China even though it disrupted preseason workouts.

"I don't think anyone would have traded two more practices for the cultural experience that we got," he said.