The NBA goes to Bollywood!
By Charlie O @Charlieo1320
The first-ever NBA game was played in Mumbai, India on Friday night between the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings. Well, it was Friday night if you were in Mumbai. If you were in Sacramento, the game tipped off at 6:30 AM, so it was bagels and basketball.
Much to the chagrin of the coaches and to the delight of the crowd, the game required overtime. The Pacers prevailed in OT 132-131. The Kings’ Buddy Hield put up a long 3-point shot that had a realistic chance of going in, but bounced high off the rim and was put back in by Marvin Bagley for two points at the buzzer. Sacramento fell one point short of causing double overtime.
To say that the players were “gassed” would be a gross understatement. All five of the Indiana starters and three of the Sacramento starting five played 30-minutes or more. Rest assured that neither Nate McMillan nor Luke Walton planned to play any of their players for that long in the first preseason game.
T.J. Warren — who was traded the Pacers by the Suns in the off-season — was the game’s leading scorer with 30 points. He hit 11-of-18 from the floor and was 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
Domantas Sabonis recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He made six rebounds on offense and six on defense.
Point Guard Malcolm Brogdon also had a double-double game with 15 points and 14 assists.
Buddy Hield led the Kings’ scoring attack with 28 points. He shot 11-for-20 from the field and converted 4-of-10 from downtown.
Harrison Barnes — fresh off his time with Team USA — put 21 points in the book. Barnes went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.
De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and dished out eight assists.
Numbers for concern
Luke Walton cannot be happy that his team was outrebounded 47-30. The Pacers scored 21 second chance points to the Kings’ seven. That is not a winning formula in the NBA.
Nate McMillan will be talking to his team about turnovers. The Pacers turned the ball over 25 times in the contest, which resulted in 25 Sacramento points.
The NBA really sees itself as being a worldwide game and marketing force. The league’s goal is to literally market itself around the globe. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is a market that cannot be ignored.
Here are a few other facts:
- More than 3 million fans in India follow the NBA on Facebook.
- Over 300 live NBA games are available to viewers in India each season. In fact, fans in Sacramento often welcome Indian viewers just before tipoff.
- The NBA opened an office in Mumbai in 2012 — one of 12 NBA offices outside the USA.
- The NBA Academy India was opened in 2017 in Delhi to help develop top male and female basketball prospects.
The other reason India is a key target for the association is Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive is originally from Mumbai. It has been his dream to bring the game to his country of origin.
“This is a historic day, but for me it’s a dream come true. I left Bombay (Mumbai) when I was 17 years old and literally I had $50 in my pocket, so to come back here with my NBA team and also bring my friend Herb Simon with his team and to play an actual NBA game is beyond my wildest, wildest imagination,” explained Ranadive.
Ranadive has a vision for the future, “What I see happening is that within the next 10 years, this game, it’ll never surpass cricket as the national pastime, but it’ll be right up there. And hopefully, Commissioner, we can launch a league right here in India. I hope in the next 10 years that we’ll have at least one player that comes out of the system that plays in the NBA. We already see players. And I fully expect that there will be arenas that spring up across the country where we can play these games.”
More from Mumbai tomorrow
The Kings and Pacers will play one more preseason game on Saturday night in Mumbai. The tipoff time in Indiana is 8:30 AM and in Sacramento it is 6:30 AM. If you call yourself a real NBA fan, it is breakfast and basketball tomorrow morning.