The Franchise catches a ride on a double-decker bus. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBA/Getty Images)The New York Knicks scored a 102-87 win over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday afternoon at the O2 Arena in London as part of the NBA's ongoing efforts to expand global interest in the stateside product. The game itself wasn't particularly thrilling, and what was billed as a "home game" for the Pistons clearly featured many more Knick fans than Piston partisans in attendance, but it all went well enough, I guess, and nobody got hurt. (No thanks to Austin Daye.)
One hidden benefit of the sort-of-weird midseason trip to England: Getting to read some local coverage of our favorite league by journalists from outlets across the pond, like Oliver Brown of the Telegraph. Brown's column angles toward the presentation of an NBA game verging on "theatre of the absurd" intended for audiences with an "attention deficit," which, while a bit harsh, is probably the best point he makes in his piece; one suspects he wouldn't be too big a fan of the game operations at the Barclays Center, what with the constant ear-splitting in-possession music and the BrooklyKnight firing T-shirts at unsuspecting reporters.
While Brown might not have loved the spectacle surrounding the game, I can't help loving his way with words and somewhat stilted sense of the game, which makes me think that our guide to England for U.S. fans should have been accompanied by an opposite number for Britons.
Below, my three favorite things from this report by an Englishman who went up a hill and came down an NBA expert; please feel free to leave yours in the comments.
Big ups to Kyle Singler.
Mr. Brown clearly has a very high opinion of the Duke product (emphasis mine):
The telltale sign we were in London, not Michigan, was the reception for the Pistons. This was supposed to be a home game for Detroit, and yet franchise players such as Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler ambled into the arena as anonymously as a pair of very tall men rounded up from a rush-hour Tube train.
Let's see: 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 27.6 minutes per game, on 43 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from 3-point range. Yep, sounds like a franchise player to me. Then again, you can understand why a London journalist might've been confused, what with the NBA parading Singler around in search of singularly British buckets:
We now have cool new ways to describe Carmelo Anthony and his game.
The Knicks' leading scorer wasn't great on Thursday, missing 11 of his 19 field goal attempts and turning the ball over five times in 40 minutes, but he did score a game-high 26 points, including 18 in the first half, to pace New York's offense. As a result, Brown devoted a bit more attention to him than some of the other players involved; for that, we thank him, because it gave us the following:
"Carmelo Anthony’s metronomic free-throws for the Knicks were all very well."
"... the extravagantly tattooed Anthony, New York’s scoring automaton ..."
"... the Knicks totems of Anthony, Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd were delivering a masterclass from three-point range."
If I forget to refer to Carmelo Anthony as a "totemic, metronomic automaton" at least once before the end of this season, please feel free to email or tweet at me to tell me what a miserable failure I am. Also, Knicks color commentator Walt "Clyde" Frazier likes the cut of your jib, Mr. Brown.
New best term for "they were losing."
Thanks in part to Anthony's 18-point opening, Detroit trailed big at intermission. Of course, that's a boring American way to say it; let's turn back to Mr. Brown for a better take:
"And so it proved, as the Pistons skulked off at half-time 15 points in arrears after Anthony’s first-half barrage."
I really would've dug Robert Horry's comments about "fun-loving" Dwight Howard if, instead of saying he wished Dwight would be less Cap'n Smiley when the Lakers were losing, he said he'd prefer to see Dwight skulk when L.A. is in arrears.
Very great stuff, all around. Basically, this was an NBA gamer as written by Jesse Thorne (with an "e"), British Sports Reporter:
And I, for one, love it to death. If it means getting more copy like this, I've changed my mind and wholeheartedly support the notion of NBA European expansion; next year's preseason game in Manchester can't come soon enough for me.
Hat-tip to pal Patrick Hayes at PistonPowered.