The Toronto Raptors snatched a 106-103 overtime win out of the fire against the Orlando Magic at the O2 Arena on a night when NBA commissioner Adam Silver hinted a future All-Star Game could be played in Europe.
The Raptors, beaten twice here on back-to-back nights by the New Jersey Nets in 2011 including a triple-overtime epic, squandered three double-digit leads but came good in the extra period to keep up their recent hot form, recording a fourth straight win.
Kyle Lowry led the way with 24 points while his fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan added 13 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto.
There was another star-studded, sell-out crowd on hand at the O2 for what was the sixth regular-season game to be played here in as many years, and Silver described the atmosphere as being like a "European All-Star Game" before suggesting the real thing could one day be staged on this side of the Atlantic.
"We would love to figure out a way to do it," he said. "Logistically it's very difficult to travel to Europe and travel home from Europe.
"No question it's something we would like to figure out a way to do at some point, I think it would be fantastic experience for everyone."
Silver ruled out adding European franchises any time soon, saying "this doesn't feel like the right time", but reaffirmed the NBA's commitment to keep staging events here and potentially expanding the series.
Raptors forward Luis Scola voiced his own ideas on Wednesday, saying the NBA should send more than two teams at a time so they can stage a series of games and save the teams travelling thousands of miles for just one contest.
"I will talk to Luis about his views," Silver said with a chuckle. "Because ultimately that's our desire to bring more teams here and play more games."
Scola might have been frustrated with the travel schedule but he and his team-mates got the result they wanted on court as they stretched their lead at the top of the Atlantic Division and avenged an early-season loss to Orlando.
The Magic, who arrived having lost five of six to slide away from play-off contention, shot well in the early going and took a 16-12 lead despite being plagued by turnover troubles.
Toronto soon found their groove as Lowry and DeRozan warmed up, and 14 straight points powered them into a 31-18 lead by the end of the first quarter.
It looked like being a breeze but three times Orlando would rally from double-digit deficits to get within three, and a three-pointer from Victor Oladipo made it 92-91 with 3:17 to go in the fourth quarter.
A three-point play from Nikola Vucevic had the Magic back within two inside the final minute and after Oladipo tied it, it was Orlando who missed late chances to win before the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
Toronto hit the ground running and Patrick Patterson's three-pointer gave them a 103-98 edge with 3:14 to go but when Oladipo - who led Orlando with 27 points - hit from deep with 37 seconds left, the gap was 105-103 in Toronto's favour.
Orlando raced up court again but Oladipo turned it over and Tobias Harris was forced to foul, sending Lowry to the free throw line to finish the job.News Now - Sport News