Tag: NBA London

Toronto Raptors v New Jersey Nets

Things were a little different for the NBA in London

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In a lot of ways the NBA’s debut in London felt and looked like a regular NBA game (especially on television back home). Deron Williams broke Sonny Weems ankles on the crossover. DeMar DeRozan showed off a developing all-around game. The Raptors played no defense. Empty seats easy to spot in the crowd. Just like most NBA games.

But in the O2 arena things were a little different, according to the Associated Press.

The unusual venue meant the public announcer had to do some extra work, explaining some of the basic rules every now and then to the British crowd — like pointing out that a player fouled while shooting gets two free throws. And with crowd support split between the two teams — despite the Nets being listed as the home team — players had the rare experience of being booed by rival fans before every free throw, and then cheered by their own supporters if the shot was good.

There were enough people in the building who cared to boo and cheer for the Nets and Raptors? Wow, I guess this was special.

Nets, Raptors about to tip off in London as Olympics precursor

toronto raptors london
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The NBA is in London. Right now.

The land of HP Sauce and The Kings Speech is getting a real NBA game. Well, it’s not like they are getting the NBA’s best product, they are getting the Nets against the Raptors (tip off at 3 p.m. Eastern Friday on NBA TV). They did not get Manchester United against Arsenal. This is more Blackburn against Birmingham. I’m mot sure what kind of crowd that would draw if those two English Premiere League teams played in New York.

But London will sell out the O2 Arena to see Deron Williams against Andrea Bargnani. It is part of the NBA’s effort to create a global brand as the elite basketball league on the planet. It is part of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s plan to make his team more international.

But Doug Smith of the Toronto Star makes another good point (via Ball Don’t Lie).

Basketball is one of the marquee events of any Summer Olympics — especially with the presence of the globally popular NBAers who dot many of the national team rosters — but the game has no real grassroots appeal in London.

So part of the reason for the NBA games here is to increase awareness and, potentially, increase attention during the London Games so that organizers aren’t left scrambling to sell tickets to what’s normally a virtual sellout event.

No doubt basketball will sell out, and we here in the states will get to see all of it we want (right here on NBC). But this will not be the biggest sport with the locals. It’s not what they will be talking about in the pubs. And sending the Nets and Raptors isn’t really going to change that. It’s a baby step, if any kind of step at all.

Nets’ Deron Williams wrist hurts but he will play in London

Deron Williams presser

UPDATE March 3, 9:49 am: Deron Williams says he is is playing this weekend in London, he told Sekou Smith of NBA.com.

“I’m playing,” he said after the Nets wrapped up their Thursday morning practice at the arena. “I’m definitely playing tomorrow.”

Debate the wisdom of that if you want, but he is going.

March 2, 8:25 pm: Nets fans in New Jersey got to see Deron Williams for a game.

Nets fans in London — both of them — may not be so lucky.

Deron Williams said in conference call from London with reporters today that his right wrist is sore and really needs “three to four weeks” of rest to get right, reports the Star-Ledger. Williams also knows he’s not going to get that.

“They just traded for me. I don’t think they traded for me to sit out,” said Williams, who was acquired by the Nets from the Utah Jazz on Feb. 23 for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round draft picks.

Williams also suffered a bone bruise in his other (left) hand Monday. So, he’s a point guard with two bad hands. Not exactly ideal. The schedule works to the Nets advantage here, thanks to days off on either side of their trip to face the Raptors for two games in London (Friday and Saturday).

The Nets last played Monday against Phoenix. If he takes the two London games off Williams would get to rest until next Wednesday when the Nets take on the Warriors in New Jersey.

Eight days off is not three weeks off — he took eight games off after his hand got injured and it still bothers him — but it’s better than him continuing to play with two sore hands.

The Nets have not announced anything and you can bet the league is going to pressure the Nets to have their new star on the court. Then again Nets also are not playoff bound, so it’s hard to come up with good reasons to risk anything more serious happening to Williams wrist.

London Calling: Nets land in England for weekend games

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The Nets have landed in London and they have a few days to get used to doing things in England before they play. Like what side of the bus to get on (watch the video, that makes more sense then).

The Nets and Raptors play a back-to-back at the O2 Arena in London Friday and Saturday, the first two regular season NBA games ever played in London.

But first a few days of sightseeing, like watching Jordan Farmar get called for traveling crossing Abby Road, that kind of thing. At least with the Nets and Raptors we know we’ve sent the finest editions of NBA basketball we can oversees to impress the crowds.

Anyway, a video of their arrival.

London calling: Nets, Raptors play two regular season games in England

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london.jpgDavid Stern has been saying he wanted to see some NBA regular season games overseas, and what David Stern wants David Stern gets.

Now it’s London calling, so come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls.

The New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors will play back-to-back games in London March 4 and 5, according to the New York Daily News. Those follow he Lakers/Timberwolves preseason tilt at the O2 arena in London this October.

This matchup makes some sense. The Nets under new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov are trying hard to build an international fan base to bring to Brooklyn. Toronto, on the other hand, has pretty much built a EuroLeague team.

The Nets start the season Oct. 27 at their new home, the Prudential Center in Newark, against the Detroit Pistons. The other question everybody wants to know: The Miami Heat come to Newark on Halloween.