Heat, Clippers to play two preseason games in China

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Love them or hate them, the Miami Heat are the NBA’s biggest attraction right now. So the league is sending them to the world’s most populous country.

The Heat and Clippers will play two exhibition preseason games and some other publicity stops in China before the start of next season, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

As expected, the Heat have been scheduled for a pair of games in China during the 2012 preseason. A source familiar with the scheduling confirmed Sunday to the Sun Sentinel that the Heat will play the Los Angeles Clippers in those games, Oct. 11 in Beijing and Oct. 14 in Shanghai.

The NBA had sent teams to China for five preseasons in a row prior to the lockout-shortened season last year when the entire preseason schedule was cut back to a couple games per team. This tour takes stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to the emerging market to help promote the league (and Nike is probably pretty good with this, too).

The Dallas Mavericks and other NBA teams will also be making preseason stops in Europe as David Stern continues his quest for globalization of the NBA.