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Raptors and Rockets to play 2 pre-season games in Japan

March 5, 2019
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Japanese internet company Rakuten President and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani announces NBA Japan Games 2019 during a press conference Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Tokyo. Mikitani announced that the NBA's Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets will play on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at the Saitama Super Arena this year.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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Japanese internet company Rakuten President and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani announces NBA Japan Games 2019 during a press conference Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Tokyo. Mikitani announced that the NBA's Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets will play on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at the Saitama Super Arena this year.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets will play two pre-season games in October at the Saitama Super Arena, the basketball venue for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

In a statement Tuesday, the NBA said it has staged 12 regular-season games in Japan, beginning in 1990 when the Utah Jazz played the Phoenix Suns. The NBA says this was the first regular-season game played outside North America by a U.S. sports league.

The Rockets played two regular-season games in Japan in 1992. The Raptors will be making their first visit to Japan.

Houston is led by James Harden and Chris Paul. Toronto is led by Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and Marc Gasol.

The Saitama Super Arena is located northwest of central Tokyo.

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