Yao and the Rockets got the upper hand against Yi and the Bucks.
-- NBAE/Getty Images

If there was pressure in the first-ever meeting of Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, neither man showed it. The Bucks rookie was impressive with 19 points and nine rebounds, but Yao showed why he's considered an MVP candidate with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Milwaukee was within two late in the fourt, the Yao and the Rockets went on a 20-6 run to end the game and win 104-88.

While an estimated 250 million people in China watched the game on TV, a good number of people do what we do here in the States when there's a big sporting event: they went to a sports bar.
Here's a report from NBA staffers in China:

This morning's AMAZING viewing party at Goose and Duck sports bar in Beijing attracted over 450 fans, when only 300 were expected to attend!!

By 9:30 a.m. when the game started, the bar was already packed and it was impossible to find a seat. The venue was decorated with lots of Rockets and Bucks logos and colors, with player standees lining up the walls for fans to take photos with, and player photos decorating the hallway.

Fans were ushered into the party area after receiving a wide array of door gifts, greeted with breakfast and beverages. Two emcees kept the atmosphere going with games and lucky draws at every time-out. The "Best-Dressed Fan" came in a Yao jersey and his enthusiasm won him the loudest cheer from fans!! A dance team was also specially invited to give fans the complete experience of NBA entertainment.

A great amount of media showed up including 20 local media and foreign agencies including AP, AFP, CNN, NBC. Every reporter wanted to know first hand on how fans were out this morning to celebrate the first Yao-Yi match, where ³¤³Ç happens!

NOV. 10: What They're Saying

Tom Endlund from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel :

"The game was hyped as the battle of the two Chinese stars - Houston's Yao Ming and Milwaukee's Yi Jianlian - and both played well.

Yao led Houston with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Yi scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half. He also grabbed nine rebounds.

And, for the most part, the Bucks played pretty well against what is expected to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference, but Milwaukee fell victim to two costly lulls."

Steve Campbell from the Houston Chronicle :

"When the appointed hour arrived, Yi wasn't there. Yao sat courtside, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting with a bemused smile. Yi arrived five minutes late, which isn't the Miss Manners-approved way for a rookie to pay his respects to an elder who broke down the great wall between China and the NBA.

Maybe the dinner Yao treated Yi to the previous night was, uh, working overtime.

"You know what?" Yao said, smiling to take some of the edge off his words. "A rookie should not do that."

NOV. 9: What They're Saying
In the meantime, NBA.com's Dave McMenamin scoured the web for The Court Reporters for coverage on the web. In Houston, NBA.com's Mo Wang wrangled Bucks GM Larry Harris and head coach Larry Krystkowiak for post-shootaround observations about Yi and tonight's game.

Audio: Larry Harris | Larry Krystkowiak

Posted by: Dave McMenamin

In case you didn't know, the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks are playing tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET in Houston.

And while I'm personally interested in the darting looks that Rick Adelman gives down the sidelines to Larry Krystkowiak for taking over his role as the owner of the best goatee of any head coach in the NBA (sorry, Eddie Jordan), there are a lot of people that will be tuning in for what's happening on the court.

Specifically for what's happening on the court involving No. 9 on the Bucks and No. 11 on the Rockets.

Yup, Yi and Yao.

(Three capital Y's in a four-word sentence has to be some kind of record.)

Sure, we're only about a week into the regular season, but want a grasp of just how big this game is? Michael Hunt writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"In 1983, about 106 million people tuned in for the final episode of 'M*A*S*H,' making it the most-viewed TV show in U.S. history. It accounted for roughly 60% of American households.

Tonight - or Saturday morning, as the case will be in Asia - it is estimated that about 250 million Chinese will watch Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks play against Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets."

At least somebody is treating this like just any other game. Who is that somebody? Yi Jianlian.

Bucks Assistant Coach Brian James corroborates Yi's calm demeanor (from Bucks.com):

"'If Yi is nervous about his first matchup with Yao in an NBA situation, you would never know it. He (Yi) goes through every day as professionally as you¡¯d ever want and I think it¡¯s going to be great to see how they interact.'¡±
Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is with Yi and writes:

"Pomp and circumstance aside, the most important thing for the Bucks is that it will provide them with an opportunity to see just where they stand among the premier teams in the league."
But, come on, 200 million viewers? You can't blame Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle for pumping up the game a bit:

"This will be a night that seemed impossible a few years ago when a November game between the Rockets and the Milwaukee Bucks represented anything but what tonight's game will be, a must-have ticket and an international sporting event."
China won't be the only foreign country represented tonight. In fact, players from six different continents will be participating:

"In addition to the players from North America and Yao and Yi from Asia, the Rockets' Luis Scola (Argentina) is from South America, the Rockets' Dikembe Mutombo (Congo) is from Africa, the Bucks' Dan Gadzuric (Holland) is from Europe and the Bucks' Andrew Bogut is from Australia."
Don't own a TV or live in Houston? That's not the only way to watch: "The game, starting early Saturday morning in China, will air on 19 television stations, including CCTV-5, the country's government-run network. It also will be available on two Webcasts and on video-enabled, wireless phones."

Yao Ming saw this day coming back in 2004:

"'The first time I saw him, in 2004, for the Olympic training camp, I knew one day he would play here,' Yao said. 'He has huge talent. Already, he's shown some part of it, in his first four games.'"
Yao watched Yi back then and continues to watch him today (from Rockets.com):

"Before departing on a recent road trip, Rockets star center Yao Ming swung by the team's video room with a special request.

He wanted a DVD featuring every highlight from Yi Jianlian's brief NBA career.

'He looks nice,' Yao said after watching the disc."

Actually, there are a lot of people watching Yi and even creating fan clubs for him.

Who knows what the outcome of tonight's game will be, but the Bleacher Report is already predicting big-time success for both Yi and Yao this season:

"Yao will be an All-Star again this season, but Yi will undoubtedly join him in the near future¡ªand may well challenge Kevin Durant, Al Thornton, and Co. for Rookie of the Year honors."