NBA preseason games get under way

NEW YORK (AFP) — The National Basketball Association (NBA) will resume playing Canadian pre-season games beyond Toronto in October, with the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz meeting the Toronto Raptors in October, the league announced on Wednesday.

The eighth NBA Canada Series will see the Raptors face Utah on 2 October at Edmonton and meet the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics on 14 October at Montreal.

It marks the first time since 2019 such games will be contested following Covid-19 concerns the past two years.

The Raptors feature 2019 NBA champion Pascal Siakam and 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes as well as Canadians Chris Boucher, Khem Birch and Dalano Banton.

The Jazz roster includes three-time NBA All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and Canadian forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

The Celtics will make their second appearance in Montreal after 2012 in the NBA’s sixth contest in the city.

Boston’s lineup includes three-time NBA All-Star Jayson Tatum, 2021 All-Star Jaylen Brown and 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.

The NBA Canada Series began 10 years ago at Montreal and has seen 14 pre-season games played across the nation.

“It’s so good to once again be able to play in front of our fans across Canada,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said.

“It’s a fantastic reminder, as we begin a new season, that we are Canada’s team and we look forward to making Raptors fans proud, no matter where they are cheering from.”

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