Raptors to play pre-season games against Rockets in Tokyo

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Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka defends. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)

MIAMI – Toronto and Houston will play a pair of pre-season games in Japan next season.

The NBA announced Monday night that the Raptors and Rockets will play on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at the Saitama Super Arena.

“The Raptors are proud to represent the NBA, Canada, and the city of Toronto as we head to Tokyo in October,” president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said in a statement.

“You have only to look at our organization to know that we truly believe basketball is a global game. We come from all over the world, and we are all connected through the love of our sport. We are looking forward to sharing that with basketball fans in Japan.”

The NBA played 12 regular-season games in Japan between 1990 and 2003. These preseason matchups will be the first time the league has returned to Japan since.

"Bringing NBA preseason games to Japan will help accelerate the growth of basketball in a country that features a thriving sports culture and one of the world’s largest economies," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

The preseason games will come about nine months before the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There are pro leagues in Japan, and the nation is one of the 32 teams that will appear in the FIBA World Cup in China this summer.

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