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Volume 25 No. 214
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Mexico City Games Deemed Success For NBA With Pair Of Sellouts

The Magic won Saturday's matchup with the Jazz in front of 20,011 fans at Arena Ciudad de Mexico
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Magic beat the Jazz 96-89 on Saturday to "sweep their two-game homestand in Mexico City," completing the NBA's 28th game played in the country, according to Carlos Rodriguez of the AP. Only the U.S. and Canada "have hosted more." Nine of the last 26 NBA games in Mexico "have been regular-season contests" (AP, 12/15). In Utah, Eric Woodyard noted the Jazz "found themselves being warmly received from the sellout crowd of 20,011 fans at Arena Ciudad de Mexico" (DESERET NEWS, 12/16). In Salt Lake City, Andy Larsen noted an hour before tipoff, "thousands of fans were waiting in line for one hoops-related activity or another with the NBA’s marketing partners, with stations packed in all around the arena." There were even "tequila shots at one stand, being given out as free samples for interested fans." Additionally, "thanks to the exchange rate, even the things that weren’t free were relatively inexpensive from an American’s point of view." Fans "could be seeing wearing all manner of NBA gear" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 12/16).

GAME NOTES: The TRIBUNE's Larsen noted Jazz G Raul Neto on Saturday "greeted the fans before the tip with a speech in their native Spanish, while the Magic’s Isaiah Briscoe made his team’s announcement in English." The game was "clearly influenced by the unique location: located at about 7,300 feet above sea level," as there was "terrible shooting" from both squads. Jazz F Derrick Favors said of the elevation, "We absolutely felt it." Larsen noted the teams' poor shooting did not stop fans from "enjoying the game." The fans "whistled when players were at the free-throw line and started a wave in the game’s final minutes." There were also "definitely more in attendance wearing Jazz gear than Orlando gear, though the Magic were the home team" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 12/16). ESPN.com's Eric Gomez noted the Magic "did get occasional roars from the sellout crowds" in both Saturday's game and Thursday against the Bulls. The Mexico City games also "represented some of the largest crowds the Magic have seen all season," with both drawing more than 20,000. Prior to those games, the Magic's largest home crowd "was 19,249 on Nov. 17" against the Lakers  (ESPN.com, 12/15).