Debutant Yi spurs Mavs to road victory

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DETROIT, Michigan, January 11 – Yi Jianlian joined the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and helped the reigning NBA champions collect their first road victory of the season with a 100-86 triumph at Detriot.

The 24-year-old Chinese playmaker came off the bench for 5:24, grabbing a rebound and making a foul in his season debut.

The 7-foot forward joined the Mavericks for his first workout on Tuesday morning, Yi declaring himself ready for the challenge of the NBA campaign.

“I will be ready to play,” Yi said.

Yi arrived one day after the Mavericks visited US President Barack Obama at the White House to celebrate last June’s NBA Finals triumph over Miami.

Yi, who helped China win last year’s Asian Championship and a berth in this year’s London Olympics, averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots in two games with the minor-league Texas Legends last weekend.

Yi, the sixth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, suited up for his fourth NBA team, having previously played for the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards.

The Mavericks improved to 5-5 behind 18 points from Dirk Nowitzki while Vince Carter added 11. The Pistons fell to 2-8.

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