- National Teams
DeMar DeRozan is the only player to have remained with the Toronto Raptors since their last visit to London for the NBA Global Games in 2011 and he is ready to put on another show.
An NBA All-Star last season, DeRozan put up back-to-back 30-point games as the Raptors were beaten twice in as many days by the then-called New Jersey Nets four years ago.
DeRozan was only in his second season in the NBA back then, and has fond memories of playing in front of the O2 Arena crowd.
“My first time going to London and going over there to play an NBA game was definitely awesome,” he told Hoopsfix in a conference call with European media.
“The fans didn’t have one team they were cheering for, they were cheering for both teams.
“This is something I will definitely remember, and this is what made the game even more fun and competitive.
“I had a great time and I’m glad I’ll be going to represent the Toronto Raptors again.”
The Raptors are going strong in the Eastern Conference so far this season with their record currently standing at 22-15, while the 19-13 Orlando Magic sit outside of the playoff places.
However, DeRozan insists his side will not take their London opponents lightly, having already been beaten 92-87 by Orlando earlier in the season.
“They beat us earlier this season, they broke our streak when we were 5-0, so we have a chance to go out there and redeem ourselves from the first time we played them.
“We understand that they’re an exciting young team that we’ll have to come prepared for.
“It should be an exciting game.”
The trip to London offers some downtime for the visiting rosters away from the hectic schedule of the NBA in the States, and DeRozan plans to make the most of the opportunity.
“It’s definitely great just to get a change of scenery,” he said.
“Instead of going to our common NBA cities and playing, we’re going to another country, and we will take our families over there and they will experience something new that a lot of us haven’t seen.
“It’s definitely going to be amazing to go out there to have a couple of days there before we play and go out there to play.
“Just to get a new experience and share something together is definitely going to be awesome.”
The Orlando Magic host the Toronto Raptors at The O2 in London on Jan. 14 as part of NBA Global Games London 2016. The game is live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Showcase or via NBA LEAGUE PASS (www.nba.tv).