NBA Preseason Preview: Houston Rockets vs Indiana

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By Deepak Vikraman | October 10, 2013 4:48 PM EST

The NBA comes for the first time to South-East Asian shores as Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets take on the Indiana Pacers in a preseason game in Manila, Philippines.

The Rockets are expected to be one of the most exciting teams this year after landing the biggest free agent of the summer - Howard.

The big center chose the Rockets, despite having the likes of Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks queuing up for his signature.

"I love these guys," Howard said on Wednesday during a practice session in Manila ahead of the game. "We love being around each other. We're looking forward to the season."

With James Harden and Lin already in their books, the Rockets now have a marquee center at their disposal as well, making Houston one of the early-season contenders in the Western Conference.

The first few games of the regular season will tell us just how far this Houston side can progress; but before that there are a couple of preseason games in Asia to negotiate, with the first one against the Pacers, perennial contenders in the Eastern Conference and looking for a way to get past the Miami Heat.

"On paper it sounds good but we have to compete at a high level every night," Harden was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal. "One thing is, however, certain after playing a year together. Our chemistry has risen to a new level."

Last season, the Pacers eased to two victories over the Rockets, with Harden struggling in both games. However, the Houston guard expects a much better performance from his team this time around.

"I think they gave us the most trouble last year as far as the way they played, especially me," Harden said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of facing it early to kind of get me better prepared for the season.

"And as far as the individual matchup, Paul George is a great player. So I'll be trying to test what I've been working on all summer against one of the best up-and-coming players.

"With teams like that, you have to move the basketball. You have to share the basketball and everybody has to get involved because once you hold the ball, they load up and that's when they're great. Then having a threat like Dwight for lobs to the rim is going to make it a lot easier for us.

"We're still learning from each other, so tomorrow's (Thursday's) going to be a big test for us as far as our opponent and also getting a feel for each other."

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a 5.00 p.m. (IST) start with no live telecast scheduled.

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