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Nets players and coaches are focused on the Thunder

MEXICO CITY (AP) No earthquakes or volcanos are on the back of the mind of the Brooklyn Nets players and coaches ahead of their regular-season game Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Mexico City. At least publicly.

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The game will be the 25th in NBA history South of the Border, the most for any country besides the United States and Canada. It also is the first since a 7.1 earthquake on Sept. 19 killed over 300 people, most of them in the nation's capital.

''We talked about it and we talked about precautions with the NBA security on what we should do it happens'', Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. ''We are affected by it because it was big news in the U.S. and we saw the pain and suffering and sympathize with the victims. It was very moving to see those images, I can't imagine going through something like that''.

The quake was the deadliest in Mexico since the one on 1985 on the same date killed thousands and it came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused 90 deaths in the country's south.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick expressed relief to leave the country after a regular-season game against the Oakland Raiders played in at Azteca stadium.

''I think we're fortunate there was no volcano eruptions or earthquakes, or anything else while we were down there. You have two NFL franchises in an area that I don't know how stable the geological plates that were below us, but nothing happened, so that was good'', Belichick said.

The Patriots coach was talking about the Popocatepetl volcano located just 45 miles southeast of the capital which remains active and occasionally sends clouds of ash on surrounding communities.

''You can't control natural disasters ... the same thing happened in Houston with the flood and all over the place you can control what happens, you just respond to them,'', Nets forward Quincy Acy said.

Unlike the Patriots, who arrived to Mexico on a Saturday night and left the country 24 hours later, the Nets will be in the city for a longer period of time. They will play the Thunder on Thursday night and then against the Miami Heat on Saturday.

''One thing I know about the NBA is that they are never going to put us in a position where something harmful is going to happen to us, they did all their research and everybody was happy to come over here'', forward DeMarre Carroll said.

Since the quake, the Formula One held a race at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack and the Patriots and Raiders played at Azteca on Nov. 19.

Carroll and the rest of the Nets look comfortable in Mexico. After a light practice at Arena Ciudad de Mexico they traveled a few miles to give a basketball clinic and helped paint walls on the Miguel Quintana elementary school in the capital.

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For more NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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