NBA superstar Stephen Curry lauded Japan's "amazing fan base" after leading the Golden State Warriors to a 104-95 victory over the Washington Wizards in the second of two preseason exhibition games at Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo on Sunday.
Curry scored a team-high 17 points in just 17 minutes, while Kristaps Porzingis scored 18, and local hero Rui Hachimura had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards in front of another sellout crowd following Friday's 96-87 win for the reigning NBA champion Warriors.
"Been looking forward to this trip for a while," Curry said. "Love Japan, love Tokyo, love this whole area and it's been an amazing four days, and I wish it was a little longer."
The two-time NBA MVP spoke of wanting to return to Japan "at some point every summer" and said he particularly enjoyed meeting and interacting with young fans during the trip.
"That's what the game is about, trying to build inspiration, confidence, fun for the next generation...play in front of an amazing country and fan base that supports us -- not just the Warriors but the NBA," he said.
The Wizards led 85-74 heading into the final quarter, but with both teams benching their rotation players, a Warriors backup unit paced by rookie forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. came roaring home in the closing minutes.
Two-time All-NBA shooting guard Klay Thompson was kept out of the Golden State lineup once more, while the Wizards rested star shooting guard Bradley Beal after he played 18 minutes of the opening game.
Just as he did on Friday, Hachimura pumped up the parochial crowd with a number of highlight plays during his 26 minutes on the floor.
He finished through contact twice on his way to a pair of three-point plays in the first half, receiving huge cheers each time. He also brought fans out of their seats while showing his range on a catch-and-shoot three.
With many in the arena sporting Curry jerseys, last season's NBA Finals MVP did not disappoint as he went 3-from-8 from behind the arc, sparking celebrations from the crowd on each long-distance make.
The only Japanese player ever picked in the first round of the NBA draft, Hachimura said it had been a "special moment" introducing his Wizards teammates to his home country and playing with them in front of Japanese fans.
"I'm so glad to make this trip as a team...I was able to share my culture and how beautiful this country is to my teammates, and I think they loved it," Hachimura said.
The fourth-year forward said taking Wizards players for a team dinner at a Japanese "teppanyaki" restaurant had been especially memorable.
"We had a great time, talking among each other while enjoying a multi-course meal," he said.
Hawaiian-born former sumo ozeki and noted basketball fan Konishiki was among the celebrities in attendance at Sunday's game.
Presented by one of Golden State's main corporate sponsors, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Group Inc., this year's NBA Japan games marked the first trip to the country by either team.