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Rockets beat Pacers 116-96 in 1st game in Manila

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - James Harden scored 21 points Thursday to lead the Houston Rockets to a 116-96 win over the Indiana Pacers in the first NBA preseason game in the Philippines.

Omri Casspi added 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Houston, while Paul George led the Pacers with 17 points. Dwight Howard was held to nine points in his second game for the Rockets after struggling with foul trouble.

NBA Commissioner David Stern says the basketball-obsessed Philippines are an ideal host for NBA preseason games. He says the league may go to other Southeast Asian countries.

He calls Filipinos "rabid fans in a wonderful way."

The teams will play again on Sunday in Taiwan, the ancestral home of Rockets guard Jeremy Lin.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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