The Houston Rockets continued their hot start to the season with a 113-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Mexico City Arena Wednesday night.
This game marked the first of two scheduled NBA regular season games to take place on international soil in an effort to broaden the worldwide fan base.The Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks will travel across the pond to play in London’s O2 Arena on Jan. 15.
"While London and Mexico City each have their own unique culture, they both have rich sports traditions and share a great passion for the NBA," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The Timberwolves and Rockets played in front of almost 20,000 fans who were disappointed last year with a last minute technical difficulty. The San Antonio Spurs and Timberwolves were scheduled to play in Mexico last year, but a short circuit in the generator sent smoke into the arena, forcing everyone to evacuate 45 minutes before tipoff.
This time, NBA Mexico director Raul Zarraga said "stricter measures" were taken to "prevent this from happening again."
Indeed, it did not happen again; the event ran smoothly, and fans showed a lot of excitement seeing players like James Harden and Dwight Howard.
"It's a big honor to play in Mexico,” said Howard. "We had an amazing time even though it was a super short trip. I've always wanted to come to Mexico. The fans were great. They were standing and cheering from warm-ups until the end ... I wish I could play all of our games here in Mexico."
Howard and Harden gave the crowd something to cheer for as they both had double-doubles. Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Harden scored a game-high 23 points and 10 assists in the win.
This was the sixth time that the Rockets played a game in Mexico City when they were 4-2.
Silver likes the idea of these games, and therefore we should expect to see more and more games played in foreign countries.
"These regular-season games will bring the excitement and incredible competition of our league to more fans in Europe and Latin America," said Silver.