Rockets, Pelicans to play two pre-season games in China

New Orleans Pelicans' Alexis Ajinca (42) goes up for a shot as Houston Rockets' Corey Brewer (33), Dwight Howard (12) and Josh Smith, right, defend. (David J. Phillip/AP)

NEW YORK — The Houston Rockets will return to China next fall to play two preseason games against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The teams will play Oct. 9 in Shanghai, followed by a game in Beijing on Oct. 12.

The Rockets are popular in China because of Yao Ming, who starred for them from 2002-11. They played in Shanghai, Yao’s hometown, in 2004.

Houston also played in Greater China in 2010 and 2013.

The Pelicans will be making their first visit to China.