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ESPN to show NBA in UK and Ireland until end of the season

ESPN strike deal to show NBA on UK screens until the end of the season

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 5 December 2012

The NBA will return to British screens this Thursday after ESPN reached a deal to show the remainder of the season, as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail.

Eastern Conference leaders New York Knicks and Miami Heat will be the first game shown by the broadcaster as part of a deal that will showcase three live games from the US per week.

The revived partnership, which had expired last summer, will also see ESPN air the NBA All Star Game in February as well as the first and second round NBA Play-off games, Western Conference Finals, and NBA Finals.

On the ball: New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will launch ESPN's return to UK screens

On the ball: New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will launch ESPN's return to UK screens

NBA SCHEDULE – DECEMBER 6-12 – ON ESPN

Thursday 6th Dec, 1 am.*
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Friday 7th Dec, 2:30 am
LA Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Monday 10th Dec, 1 am
San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets
Tuesday 11th Dec, Midnight
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets
Thursday 12th Dec, 1 am
Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

*morning of Friday, December 7th

'We're very pleased to have the NBA returning to ESPN this season, and are looking forward to getting straight into the action and bringing UK and Ireland fans the world’s top basketball league with some great early match-ups,' said ESPN EMEA's head of programming and production, Simon Potter.

British fans will now get the chance to watch London 2012 Olympics stars Luol Deng and rookie Joel Freeland in action for Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers.

Accompanying ESPN’s live coverage this season will be studio shows NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, providing round-ups of all the action from around the league.

Hands on: British fans will be able to watch Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng in action

Hands on: British fans will be able to watch Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng in action

Carmelo Anthony relishes London return with New York Knicks against Detroit Pistons

EXCLUSIVE: Yanks for the memories, London… now I can't wait to get back, says Knicks superstar Anthony

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UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 26 November 2012

It was the scene of his greatest triumph to date and, naturally, Carmelo Anthony can't wait to get back to London in the New Year.

The 28-year-old was one of the star members in the USA's all-conquering Dream Team alongside the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, winning gold in the men's basketball at the 2012 Olympics.

With the regular NBA season back in full flow the New York Knicks forward has continued to shine, scoring over 20 points in 11 of the 12 games he has played in since the new 82-game campaign began at the beginning of the month.

On the ball: Anthony can't wait to get back to London in the New Year

On the ball: Anthony can't wait to get back to London in the New Year

While the Knicks have famously not won a world championship since 1973, coach Mike Woodson's Anthony-inspired side are currently enjoying the franchise's best ever start to a season with nine wins and three defeats.

Indeed, there's no doubt in the mind of veteran team-mate Marcus Camby that Anthony's achievements earlier this summer have acted as the catalyst to the Knicks' stunning start so far, which has suddenly offered the usually pessimistic natives a newfound cause for optimism.

'I think that whole Olympics experience has elevated his game,' said Camby. 'Melo came back with a lot more confidence and as you have seen this year, he is playing lights out basketball for us.'

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Flying high: The Knicks star scored 29 points in his side's win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday

Tyson Chandler, another stand-out Knicks performer and who was also part of the USA's gold medal-winning team, is in agreement with Camby and added: 'He [Anthony] has been so consistent throughout the year of getting us going early. His being physical gets us into the bonus, which really help out.'

And after almost single-handedly crushing the Detroit Pistons in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden on Sunday (scoring 29 points in the 121-100 victory), there's little wonder why Anthony is so enthused about the thought of returning to the capital on January 17 when the Knicks next meet the Pistons at the O2 Arena.

'Man that's far,' joked Anthony, who was speaking to Sportsmail in New York. 'But I can't wait to get back over there in London.'

On target: Anthony celebrates with team-mate J.R. Smith during their game against the Detroit Pistons

On target: Anthony celebrates with team-mate J.R. Smith during their game against the Detroit Pistons

A smile as big as the Brooklyn Bridge covers the easy-going superstar's face and his eyes illuminate like the bright lights on Times Square as he reflects on his 'unforgettable' experience at the Games.

'It was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had just being over there, being in London [at the Olympics], both on the court and off the court,' he said.

'You know, I've got some good stories of my time at the Olympics Village but I'll keep most of those to myself. I'll keep them locked up in my vault!

'The Village was great and we hung out with whoever was there to be honest. For most of the time, there were a lot of other matches going on so we would just be there, eat at the cafeteria and hang out.

'We also had the chance to go and eat at some other spots and do some sightseeing. You know, it was great. We went to see the [London] Eye, man. And we went to the [Buckingham] Palace.

'You know, over in the UK there's definitely a lot of fashion with the clothes and, of course, there's a lot of history too when it comes to the buildings and all that.

'The fans were great to us too. They were very knowledgable of the game and basketball is definitely growing over there in London.

'The whole thing really was just one of a kind.'

With Anthony at the peak of his powers, London will undoubtedly welcome him back with open arms.

The Detroit Piston take on the New York Knicks on January 17 at NBA London Live at the O2 Arena. Watch every NBA game live or on demand via NBA LEAGUE PASS at: www.nba.com/leaguepass

London 2012 Olympics: United States 126 Argentina 97

United States 126 Argentina 97: Dream Team continue gold medal charge after topping Group A

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UPDATED:

05:28 GMT, 7 August 2012

Olympics 2012

The United States wore down battling Argentina in the second half to lock up top spot in Group A with a 5-0 record.

Argentina matched the Americans blow-for-blow in a pulsating first half, trailing 60-59 at half-time.

But the Americans outscored them 42-17 in an incredible third quarter in which the red-hot Kevin Durant hit five three-pointers from increasing distance.

Unstoppable: The US team had to fight hard to overcome the Argentinians

Unstoppable: The US team had to fight hard to overcome the Argentinians

Tensions flared down the stretch with both sides collecting technical fouls, but that was simply a measure of Argentina's frustration at their inability to stop the Americans, and the Americans' eagerness to let them know it.

It had been a different story in the first half, when Argentina used some excellent shooting to keep pace, never letting the Americans pull more than four points clear.

That soon changed in the third quarter. LeBron James scored seven quick points including a huge three to power them into a 67-62 lead before Durant hit the first of five quickfire three-pointers that carried the United States out of sight.

Basket case: Andres Nocioni cuts through the American defence

Basket case: Andres Nocioni cuts through the American defence

Lift off: Luis Scola goes in for a lay-up as Tyson Chandler can only watch on

Lift off: Luis Scola goes in for a lay-up as Tyson Chandler can only watch on

A huge shot from well outside the arc made it 85-68 midway through the quarter and his fifth of the period made it 93-74 with 1:52 left in the period.

When Carmelo Anthony's three made it 102-76 to end the third, Argentina seemed to take exception and several players clashed at midcourt, leading to technical fouls against both teams.

Early in the fourth, Russell Westbrook was called for a technical, apparently for his reaction to scoring a monster dunk that had made it 107-79.

But no amount of posturing from either team was going to change the result as the United States ran out big winners.

Team spirit: The US team know they remain on course to land the gold medal

Team spirit: The US team know they remain on course to land the gold medal

Team spirit: The US team know they remain on course to land the gold medal

Durant finished with 28 points while James had 18 and Chris Paul 17. Manu Ginobili led Argentina with 16 points and Carlos Delfino had 13.

The result finalised the bracket for Wednesday's quarter-final round. The United States will play Australia, Argentina take on South American rivals Brazil, Spain meet France and Russia play Lithuania.

Down but not out: Carmelo Anthony is floored during the clash at the Basketball Arena

Down but not out: Carmelo Anthony is floored during the clash at the Basketball Arena

London 2012 Olympics: United States dream team given wake up call by Tunisia

US dream team are given wake up call by African champions Tunisia

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UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 1 August 2012

The United States wound up cruising to a 110-63 win over Tunisia, but not before the African champions had given them plenty to think about in a battling first half.

Although the Americans outscored them 64-30 in the second half, Tunisia surprised their opponents and the watching crowd with a start, showing no fear in the face of their more illustrious rivals.

Up for it: Tunisia's Salah Mejri, left, vies for the ball with US guard Russell Westbrook

Up for it: Tunisia's Salah Mejri, left, vies for the ball with US guard Russell Westbrook

On the ball: US guard Russell Westbrook

On the ball: US guard Russell Westbrook

Tunisia took the lead several times during the opening two quarters, and some of their determined offensive play drew approving nods from the American bench.

Makram Ben Romdhane went coast-to-coast to score a great dunk that made it 8-4, and although the Americans reeled off a quick six points, Tunisia were ahead again on Mourad El Mabrouk's three-pointer.

A great fast break gave Amine Rzig an easy basket and when Kobe Bryant fouled El Mabrouk, United States coach Mike Krzyzewski had seen enough and he hauled off his starting five.

The second unit responded to the Tunisian challenge, and reeled off 14 unanswered points highlighted by a three-pointer from Carmelo Anthony.

Impressive: Marouan Kechrid

Impressive: Marouan Kechrid

Kevin Durant, left, drives to the basket

King Kev: Durant, left, drives to the basket

But Tunisia refused to go away and two three-pointers in a row from Marouan Kechrid brought them back within six. A huge dunk from LeBron James only slowed their charge, and Kechrid hit from deep again to slice the lead to 35-30. This time the message seemed to get through, and the Americans finished the first half on a 11-3 charge.

They quickly poured in seven points at the start of the second half as it became apparent Tunisia's challenge was fading.

A long three from Anthony made it 63-36 but there was concern for the Americans moments later when Love came up hobbling from a contested lay-up, although he would later return in the fourth quarter after treatment.

Little and large: USA's Lebron James, right, and Tunisia's Marouan Kechrid

Little and large: USA's Lebron James, right, and Tunisia's Marouan Kechrid

With the result now beyond doubt, the Americans turned to their party tricks, with Andre Igoudala scoring the outstanding dunk of the night flying in from the wing, and Anthony Davis throwing down an alley-oop pass.

A three-pointer from Love moved the Americans into triple figures with four minutes still on the clock.

Love and Carmelo Anthony had 16 points each for the Americans, with Anthony shooting 100% with two three-pointers, two free throws and four from the paint.

Anthony Davis was also a perfect five-of-five with two free throws for 12 points, and Kevin Durant had 13.

The excellent Ben Romdhane had 22 points for Tunisia.

London 2012 Olympics: Can anyone beat USA basketball Dream Team? Don"t bet on it

Can anyone beat LeBron, Kobe and the American Dream Team Don't bet on it…

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UPDATED:

15:59 GMT, 10 July 2012

It's a simple recipe for the USA basketball team to win gold, right Turn up, dazzle opponents with that NBA finesse and walk off with the prize.

And why shouldn't they The team comprises title winners, MVPs and a plethora of game greats.

The current Dream Team boasts stellar performers that could populate any of the previous incarnations which have graced the Olympic stage. For LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Co, taking centre stage in the coming weeks in Stratford is their talent-given right.

Big three: LeBron James (right), Kevin Durant (left) and Kobe Bryant (front)

Big three: LeBron James (right), Kevin Durant (left) and Kobe Bryant (front)

Can anyone beat them The US Olympic men's basketball team line up

Can anyone beat them The US Olympic men's basketball team line up

And we should be excited. In the
gamut of athletic ability which is heading to our shores to the London
Games few can boast a total command of their discipline quite like the
US basketball team.

Take James, the USA’s man of the moment – and Liverpool FC share owner, no less – who is at the very peak of his powers.

The
forward has won NBA MVP honors in three of the last four seasons (2009,
2010, 2012) and is a six-time All-NBA first-team selection who won the
lot with Miami Heat this year.

London calling: Durant in action during Team USA practice in Las Vegas

London calling: Durant in action during Team USA practice in Las Vegas

The biggest crowd draw in the event this summer started all eight games for the 2008 gold medal team and averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.

Eye-watering statistics – and the rest of the cast are no slouches, either.
You’ll know Kobe Bryant – the venerable LA Lakers shooting guard and senior statesman of the US team will be the one who leads the team on to the court.

Bryant is an alpha dog – the oldest of the group at 33-years-old – a true leader whose five NBA championships stands him head and shoulders above his lofty cast mates.

London 2012 Team USA

Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Kobe
Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks); Kevin
Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers);
James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia
76ers); LeBron James (Miami Heat); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves);
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City
Thunder) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets).

And then there is Kevin Durant who is sure to start most games. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward was one of the picks four years ago in Beijing.

His average points tally was only bettered by James and Dwyane Wade in 2008 and, as recently as 2010, he was the FIBA World Championships MVP.

And Chris Paul, the elite point guard whose link-up play will be crucial to stitching much of the play together. The LA Clippers star is a four-time NBA All-Star and finished second in MVP voting in 2008.

It’s an all-star cast heading to Stratford this month – even after the series of injuries which denied them of a number of NBA regulars who would have played a major role in proceedings.

And it is that strength in depth which stands this roster out from those who went before.

In the pursuit of the Olympic greatness, few individuals or teams arrive in London better equipped to succeed in their quest for gold.

Great Britain men and women play the USA at the Manchester Arena on July 18 and 19. For tickets visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 847 8000.