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Ingles hopeful of NBA game in Australia

AAP logoAAP 27/10/2016 By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles is upbeat about the chances of the NBA finally staging a game in Australia.

Ingles believes that given Australia's record contingent of eight NBA players and the success of this year's NBA Basketball Without Borders event in Victoria, the next step was a game.

He floated the idea of an all-Australian team of NBA players taking on a US select squad and predicted tickets would sell out within minutes by fans hungry to see the world's best basketball players.

"I think it can happen," Ingles told Australian reporters on a conference call on Thursday.

"I think with eight of us playing over here it is a great time to do it.

"Play it however you want. Aussies versus Americans or split them up.

"I think it is a great idea and will sell out really quickly - within minutes really."

The NBA has taken games to every other continent but are yet to reward Australia's rabid NBA fanbase.

Australia's NBA players - Ingles, Dante Exum, Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Thon Maker, Ben Simmons and Aron Baynes - are leading the way for a game in their homeland.

Ingles said they pushed for Basketball Without Borders, which involved camps and promotions with NBA players and within months it became a reality.

"I think there's a chance," he said.

The Jazz are tipped by bookmakers and NBA analysts this season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

The team - despite stars Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks out with injuries - was impressive early in Tuesday's opening game in Portland against the Trail Blazers, leading 83-77 going into the final quarter before falling 114-103.

Portland's All-Star guard Damian Lillard was unstoppable in the last period, scoring 16 of his 39 points.

Exum, who missed last season with a torn ACL suffered while playing for the Boomers, played just eight minutes in Portland and said coach Quin Snyder was easing him back in.

"They don't want to throw me into the deep end straight away," Exum, who joined Ingles on the conference call, said.

"I think it is just going to be a process of making sure I'm ready to step into that."

The Jazz play their next game on Friday (Saturday AEDT) in Utah against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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