Raptors, Rockets to play pre-season games in Japan

Agence France-Presse
The Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors will clash in two games in Saitama on October 8 and October 10

MVP-LEVEL. Japan gets a chance to watch 2018 NBA MVP James Harden play for the Houston Rockets. Photo from NBA Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – The Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets will play in two pre-season games in Japan later this year, the NBA confirmed Monday, March 4. 

A statement said the Rockets and Raptors will feature in two games in Saitama on October 8 and October 10.

The two games are the first held by the NBA in Japan since a string of 12 regular season match-ups held between 1990 and 2003.

The Seattle SuperSonics and the Los Angeles Clippers were the last NBA teams to play in Japan when they faced off in Saitama in November 2003.

Thirteen years earlier, the NBA had become the first US sports league to hold a regular season game outside of North America when the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz met in Tokyo in November 1990.

The Rockets, who played two regular season games in Yokohama in 1992, are led by 2018 NBA MVP James Harden while the Raptors boast a roster that is currently second in the Eastern Conference standings.

In recent years, NBA teams have regularly played overseas, with China hosting around 20 pre-season games since 2004.

London and Mexico City meanwhile have staged regular season games since 2011. – Rappler.com