August 11, 2006

Yao returns but China go down 82-73 to Germany

BEIJING (Reuters) - Yao Ming finally got some court time on
Friday but could not prevent China losing 82-73 to Germany in a
world championship warm-up tournament in Nanjing.

The Houston Rockets All Star, China's best player, received
a huge ovation from the crowd when he returned to action for
the first time since breaking his foot in an NBA game in April.

The 7 ft 6 in center was used sparingly and Germany,
inspired by a dynamic performance from Dallas Mavericks
franchise forward Dirk Nowitzki, were able to open up a
nine-point lead late in the second quarter.

China, still missing the injured Wang Zhizhi, were unable
to bridge the gap in the second period and slumped to a sixth
straight defeat in world championship warm-ups.

In Friday's other game, Greece, who beat Germany to become
European champions last year, overcame an inexperienced
Australia side 68-60.

The Stankovic Cup, which also features France and Brazil,
continues in Nanjing through the weekend with the final matches
on Tuesday in nearby Kunshan.

The world championship starts in Japan on August 19.