Reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors meet Houston Rockets in a pre-season exhibition match in Japan.
Raptors were based out in Quebec City, Canada for a training camp and traveled to the far east to play their first pre-season game, while Houston Rockets already dispatched Los Angeles Clippers 96-109 in their only pre-season game heading into this match.
The two-game series will also mark the return of NBA teams to Japan for the first time since 2003 when the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) and Los Angeles Clippers faced each other in two regular-season games at the same venue in 2003.
What competition it is? NBA Pre-season 2019
The match will be played between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The ground has a capacity of 36,500.
Match Day: October 08, 2019, @ 03:30 PM IST
Sony Sports Network has the exclusive rights to broadcast NBA pre-season matches in India. Premier members can also enjoy the live-action on the official SonyLiv App.
What to expect this season?
Raptors are preparing their life without Kawhi Leonard, whose one year stay in Toronto delivered the franchise their first-ever NBA title. It will be hard for the team to match the last season’s unthinkable success, but the team is still capable of entering the post-season, and maybe beyond.
Houston Rockets, meanwhile, stretched their profile even further after signing superstar Russell Westbrook from Oklahoma City Thunder in the off-season. His inclusion makes Rockets a true power force not only in the Western Conference but a genuine challenger for the ultimate glory. James Harden and Co should at least make the conference semifinals.
HOU vs TOR Dream11 Team News:
Houston Rockets pressed the reboot button in the summer when some high-profile players arrived in mega-deals with some leaving the franchise.
The biggest star to become a Rocket this season is Russel Westbrook. The 2017 NBA MVP shocked the whole world when the accepted to join James Harden in Houston, with the deal also saw Chris Paul moving to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That said, Westbrook is recovering from off-season surgery and is a huge doubt for this game. But as per the reports, the 30-year-old point guard is expected to play in one of the games in Japan.
Rockets also added Thabo Sefolosha and Jaron Blossomgame to their roster with the duo getting the taste of Mike D’Antoni’s system in the last game. Expect both the players to feature from the bench.
In addition, Rockets stretched their roster further after the signing of Ryan Anderson from Miami Heat. Rockets had to release rookie guard William McDowell-White to keep the squad at 20 players in line with the NBA rules.
All the 20 players in Rockets’ squad are medically cleared, except Russell Westbrook.
Toronto Raptors may have lost Kawhi Leonard in the offseason to the Clippers, but the franchise still managed to hold onto pretty much the most of the squad which bolted to Raptors’ first-ever NBA title.
Kyle Lowry (out of this game) will once again be tasked with the scoring after playing as a second fiddle to All-Star and finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. However, he will miss this match due to a sore thumb.
Another veteran in the squad is Marc Gasol who played a key role in Raptors’ title-run since moving to North in the mid-season.
But the biggest game-changer for Toronto ould be Padcal Siakam, He was one of the most improved players in the league last season and will be looking another step up to the stardom.
In addition, OG Anunoby stayed put with the defending champions after Raptors exercised their club option. The 22-year-old 6’8 forward will be looking for a much bigger role this season beyond just a defensive stopper.
Squad for the NBA Pre-season 2019:
Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet, Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Matt Thomas, Terence Davis, Cameron Payne, Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher, Isaiah Taylor, Dewan Hernandez, Sagaba Konate, Oshae Brissett, Devin Robinson
James Harden, Isaiah Hartenstein, Clint Capela, Gary Clark, Chris Clemons, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Jaron Blossomgame, Gerald Green, Danuel House, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Anthony Bennett, Michael Frazier, Thabo Sefolosha, P. J. Tucker, Shamorie Ponds
Players to watch out for: (Captain options):
To be updated on India Fantasy Premium Website:
Dream11 Teams (Starting Lineup; Probables):
Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell
Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Danuel House, P. J. Tucker
Likely to feature from the bench:
Toronto Raptors: Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, Terence Davis, Cameron Payne, Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher, Isaiah Taylor, Dewan Hernandez, Sagaba Konate, Oshae Brissett, Devin Robinson
Houston Rockets: Chris Clemons, Gerald Green, Ryan Anderson, Jaron Blossomgame, Danuel House, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Thabo Sefolosha, Gary Clark, Isaiah Hartenstein
INDIA FANTASY PREDICTION:
Houston Rockets are favorites to win the game.