Houston Rockets beat Indiana Pacers 116-96 at the Asia Arena in Philippines, in what was the first ever NBA game in the country.
Omri Casspi scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds as he came off the bench, while Dwight Howard was limited to just nine points. For the Pacers, Paul George led the scoring with 17 points.
However, James Harden was the star of the night for the Rockets as he came up with 21 points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists. Also, fan favourite Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 12 points.
For the Rockets, Patrick Beverly started at point guard as coach Kevin McHale preferred to start him instead of Jeremy Lin. "I told them I will change starting line-ups every game to see what happens. They're aware of it," McHale pointed out.
The preseason game was a part of the NBA Global Games program. The reception that both teams received before the game was phenomenal. For many fans in the basketball-crazy city, the game was a dream-come-true. The game in Manila was the first and both the teams will now move to Taipei for the next clash.
"The NBA is always trying to find ways to take advantage of opportunities, particularly in Southeast Asia, and the Philippines lead the way. But we're beginning to see activity around like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.
Sunday's game in Taipei is expected to draw even bigger crowds as it is Rockets' star Lin's ancestral home. The tickets for the match were already sold out long back and the fans are now waiting for the stars to arrive.
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