Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is excited about his team's time in London ahead of their clash with Orlando Magic in the 2016 NBA Global Game.
The Eastern Conference adversaries face off at the O2 Arena on Thursday evening in the sixth straight Global Game sell-out in the capital.
It is the third time the Canadian-based franchise have played a regular season game in London after back-to-back losses to the New Jersey Nets in 2011, culminating in the triple-overtime 137-136 defeat.
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While Casey is excited about experiencing what London has to offer, he is not so thrilled about coming up against a young, up and coming Orlando team, who snapped their five-game unbeaten run at the beginning of the season.
"I know the NBA has a lot of things in the community that are scheduled," he said. "Most of us are bringing our families with us, and everybody is excited to see London. We are also excited to be able to share the Toronto Raptors brand.
"We’re excited about it. We’re not excited about playing Orlando because they’re an excellent up and coming young team, and it’s going to be a tough match for us.
"They’re an Eastern Conference foe. We had a game against them earlier (this season) they beat us by two or three points, it was a close game."
DOWN TO BUSINESS
While a trip to Europe is good fun, it is straight down to business for the 24-15 Raptors, who will be looking to level the three-game series after Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo combined for 38 points to hand Orlando the W at the Amway Centre in November.
"We’ll have a couple of days of intense practice," Casey continued. "I don’t know how long we can go, but we intend to have a couple of good days of practice in London.
"Intense because we have a few days together that will give us an opportunity to really get some good practice, and we need it. We are trying to incorporate two new starters that are coming back from injuries back into our line-up."
Toronto is a city full of diversity and culture, and Casey believes the Global Game is key in helping the franchise continue their growth outside North America.
"It’s huge. I think with the international flavour and international population that we have in Toronto, and the relatives that people have around the world, growing the brand globally is huge.
"We have some great fans throughout Canada, in the city of Toronto, but again, the more we can grow our brand, make sure we have the Raptors logo, and also the NBA logo around the world, I think that’s huge as far as we’re concerned."
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