SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 23 (Ticker) -- Yao Ming
made his highly anticipated
debut and watched Tim Duncan
collect 27 points and 13 rebounds
as the San Antonio Spurs edged the Houston Rockets, 80-79, in
The 7-5 Yao entered the game with 10 minutes remaining in the
second period, made a pair of free throws on his first
possession and hit a fadeaway jumper over Spurs center David
for his first NBA basket with 5:08 left.
But Yao, who signed with the Rockets on October 10 after getting
approval from the China Basketball Association, struggled
thereafter and finished with six points on 1-of-5 shooting in 13
The top overall pick in the June draft, Yao was 4-for-4 from the
foul line and grabbed four rebounds, but could only watch as
's layup gave the Spurs an 80-76 lead with 14
The Rockets held a 75-72 lead after Steve Francis
, who had 15
points, hit a jumper with 3:23 remaining. But he committed a
turnover on Houston's next possession, and Ming was replaced by
with 3:02 left.
The Spurs tied it, 75-75, on Danny Ferry
's jumper with 2:22 to
go and went ahead for good when Robinson converted 1-of-2 free
throws with 1:43 left.