Yao and Rockets to play pre-season games in China

NEW YORK (Reuters) - China's Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets will play two pre-season games against the New Jersey Nets in Beijing and Guangzhou, the National Basketball Association said on Wednesday.

The Rockets, who fell short of the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006, will play New Jersey on October 13 in Beijing and on October 16 in Guangzhou.

The Nets last season set a record for the worst start to an NBA campaign when they went 0-18 but are hoping for better things this season after signing freshman forward Derrick Favors, the third overall selection in June's NBA Draft.

In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China, with two games between the Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing.

(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden.)