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New York Knicks 102-87 Detroit Pistons: Premier League stars old and new flood to glitzy NBA game in London

New York Knicks 102 Detroit Pistons 87: Premier League stars old and new flood to glitzy NBA game in London

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

22:51 GMT, 17 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 18 January 2013

A host of Premier League stars past and present sat courtside as the NBA brought its unique brand of razzamatazz to London tonight.

The New York Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons 102-87 in a regular-season game in front of a sell-out 18,689 crowd at the O2 Arena in North Greenwich.

Thierry Henry was
joined by former team-mates Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira, while QPR’s
Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand and Armand Traore took a break
from fighting relegation to attend. Darren Bent, out of favour at Aston
Villa, saw some rare action too.

Thierry Henry and film director Spike Lee pose for a photo before the game

Connected: Thierry Henry and film director Spike Lee pose for a photo before the game

Ashley Cole

David Luiz

Donning the hats: Chelsea stars Ashley Cole and David Luiz sit courtside

Clint Dempsey, Jack Butland, Ryan Bertrand, Sylvain Distin, Tim Howard and Marouane Chamakh were all in the stands too.

Ashley Cole was here courtesy of his
friend Dave Hancock, the Knicks’ English director of training and
conditioning who was once physio at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.

The England left-back proved an
unwelcome spectator however, with loud boos emanating when cameras
projected his image onto the big screen midway through the third period.
Think George Osborne at the Paralympics.

Spurs Clint Dempsey (centre) along with Everton's Tim Howard (left) and Sylvain Distin (right)

Night out: Spurs Clint Dempsey (centre) along with Everton's Tim Howard (left) and Sylvain Distin (right)

Cole kept his capped head bowed, though, and carried on his conversation, ignoring the jeers.

To be fair, Bacary Sagna was also moderately booed when cameras picked him out, so maybe it was simply pantomime season extending into January.

We were treated to Alexandra Burke
singing the national anthem with full X-Factor gusto beforehand as well
as Jake Whitehall and James Cordon shooting free-throws poorly at an
interval.

On the court Carmelo Anthony was once
again the Knicks stand-out performer, scoring a game-high 26 points to
show why he takes home $20million (12m) a year in wages.

Recently retired Fabrice Muamba (centre) enjoys the action

Cheeky grin: Recently retired Fabrice Muamba (centre) enjoys the action

Detroit Pistons (white) attempt a shot in front of the packed stands

Where's the ball gone: Detroit Pistons (white) attempt a shot in front of the packed stands

Aside from the eye-catching
three-pointers, the most memorable moments were Austin Daye’s mid-air
take-out of Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert’s astonishing miss when
striving for a slam dunk.

This is the third time in three years the NBA has come to England in a bid to widen its appeal.

But David Stern, the 70-year-old NBA
commissioner, gave a blunt appraisal of basketball’s chances when asked
if it could ever rival football for popularity. ‘In England Are you
kidding No chance’, he said.

‘We’re trying to work our way up to
somewhere underneath cricket and rugby. We have a wonderful amount of to
learn from the EPL. We met with Richard Scudamore and swapped stories
and the like to get smarter.

Pistons' cheerleaders prove the star pre-match entertainers

Crowd-pleaser: Pistons' cheerleaders prove the star pre-match entertainers

‘We have so much room to improve and
grow by leaps and bounds and then it would be some small fraction of the
love that the British have for football.’

He
did, however, add he was ‘confounded’ by UK Sport’s decision to cut
8.6m funding from British basketball following London 2012.

‘If
I were an enterprise deciding where to invest, I would think of
basketball. Our game is welcoming, inclusive, progressive and very
diverse.’

Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny (right) watches on

Relaxing: Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny (right) watches on

Pistons center Andre Drummond (left) comes in underneath Knicks center Tyson Chandler

Giant leap: Pistons center Andre Drummond (left) comes in underneath New york Knicks center Tyson Chandler

Darren Bent puts his league form behind him to make a public appearance

Day off: Darren Bent puts his league form behind him to make a public appearance


Anton Ferdinand fails to be inconspicuous

Eager beaver: Anton Ferdinand with Alan Hansen peeking from the foreground

Henry explains the basic to Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna

Deep in conversation: Henry explains the basic to Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna

Sagna takes the presenter role as he laps up the attention

Reporter: Sagna takes the presenter role as he laps up the attention

Gareth Bale tweeted a picture of him watching the NBA

What a TV! Gareth Bale tweeted a picture of him watching the NBA

The cheerleaders certainly weren't feeling the chill of the British winter

Not a bad start: The cheerleaders certainly weren't feeling the chill of the British winter

A full-house at the o2 arena watch the third NBA regular-season game in Europe

Get set: A full-house at the o2 arena watch the third NBA regular-season game in Europe

The ref takes a hasty back-step away from the jumping players

Tip off: The ref takes a hasty back-step away from the jumping players

New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony goes inside Pistons Tayshaun Prince

One-on-one: New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony goes inside Pistons Tayshaun Prince

Pistons' Rodney Stuckey (white) attempts a 2-pointer watched by Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire

Slam dunk: Pistons' Rodney Stuckey (white) attempts a 2-pointer watched by Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire

Kincks head coach Mike Woodson reacts to a referee decision

Not just in football: Kincks head coach Mike Woodson reacts to a referee decision

Pablo Prigioni of the Knicks tries to block the shot from Pistons' Will Bynum

Reaching for the basket: Pablo Prigioni of the Knicks tries to block the shot from Pistons' Will Bynum

Pistons' Stuckey shows off some very unfashionable leggings

Tights Pistons' Stuckey shows off some very unfashionable leggings

Knicks point guard Iman Shumpert smiles on his return from injury

No laughing matter: Knicks point guard Iman Shumpert smiles on his return from injury

James Corden and Jack Whitehall demonstrate just why they aren't basketball players

On court: James Corden and Jack Whitehall demonstrate just why they aren't basketball players

James Corden

James Corden

Future pro Corden gives it a go during a break but seems to suffer from the pressure

J.R Smith and Steve Novak of the Knicks have a cheeky barge

Celebration: J.R Smith and Steve Novak of the Knicks have a cheeky barge

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony salutes his fans

World famous: Knicks' Carmelo Anthony salutes his fans

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

Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel swear in Abu Dhabi on live TV, forcing BBC"s David Coulthard to apologise

Raikkonen and Vettel turn the air blue on live TV, forcing BBC's Coulthard to apologise

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 4 November 2012

BBC pundit David Coulthard was left red-faced after Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both swore on live television.

When Coulthard asked Raikkonen to describe his emotions after winning the first race of his comeback at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2007 world champion said: ‘Not much really. Last time you guys was giving me s*** because I didn’t really smile enough.’

Vettel then caused further embarrassment during the post-race podium presentation saying: ‘It was obviously a chance to f*** it up and we didn’t do that,’ in reference to his third-placed finish after Red Bull’s qualifying blunder which left him stranded at the back of the grid.

Turning the air blue: Both Kimi Raikkonen (second left) and Sebastian Vettel (right) embarrassed David Coulthard (second right)

Naughty boys: Both Kimi Raikkonen (second left) and Sebastian Vettel (right) embarrassed – and drenched – David Coulthard (second right)

Coulthard, a 13-time race winner, then issued an apology for the bad language used.

Raikkonen, who became the first driver to win a race for Lotus since Ayrton Senna’s victory at the 1987 Detroit Grand Prix, has previous in swearing on live television.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He infamously told Martin Brundle he was ‘having a s***’ after the television pundit asked why he’d missed a presentation by Pele ahead of the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen nor Vettel can blame their poor use of language on the champagne usually dished out on a Formula One podium.

As in neighbouring Bahrain, the top three drivers in Abu Dhabi are given non-alcoholic rose water instead.

NBA: James Harden inspires Houston Rockets to beat Detroit Pistons

50m Rocket man Harden starts NBA season with a bang as Houston beat Detroit

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UPDATED:

10:26 GMT, 1 November 2012

Houston Rockets opened their NBA season with a stirring 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday thanks to James Harden's 37 points and 12 assists.

Houston acquired Harden on Saturday in a trade with Oklahoma City and agreed a five-year, 50million contract extension with him.

Detroit led 83-72 early in the fourth before Carlos Delfino's four three-pointers and Harden shifted the momentum to Houston.

A pretty penny: Houston Rockets signed James Harden (right) on an eye-watering 50m contract

A pretty penny: Houston Rockets signed James Harden (right) on an eye-watering 50m contract

Star man: Harden (left) goes to the basket past Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight

Rocket man: Harden (13) drives past Detroit Pistons centre Greg Monroe

Star man: Harden drives to the basket on his way to a big haul of 37 points against Detroit Pistons

Brandon Knight led Detroit's scoring with 15 points.

At Toronto, George Hill scored the winning basket with two seconds left to complete the Indiana Pacers' rally for a season-opening 90-88 win over the Raptors.

David West scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Paul George had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers, who trailed 84-74 with just under six minutes left. Roy Hibbert added 14 points for Indiana.

Kyle Lowry shone for Toronto with 21 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his NBA debut. Andrea Bargnani had 16 points, and Jose Calderon added 15 for the Raptors.

Decisive: Indiana Pacers' George Hill (right) scored the winning basket against the Toronto Raptors

Decisive: Indiana Pacers' George Hill (right) scored the winning basket against the Toronto Raptors

Three-pointer: San Antonio's Tony Parker

Three-pointer: San Antonio's Tony Parker

San Antonio's Tim Duncan scored 24 points and Tony Parker hit a huge three-pointer as the Spurs opened the season with a 99-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in the debut for top draft pick Anthony Davis. Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

In other games, Joakim Noah scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Chicago Bulls' 93-87 win over Sacramento Kings. Richard Hamilton added 19 points, while Carlos Boozer chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an 84-75 win over the Denver Nuggets, while Mo Williams and Marvin Williams each scored 21 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 113-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Golden State's Carl Landry scored 12 of his 17 points in the in the fourth quarter as the Warriors overcame an awful post-contract night by Stephen Curry to edge past the Phoenix Suns 87-85 in the teams' season opener.

Curry, who earlier in the day agreed to a four-year, 27million extension with the Warriors, missed his first 10 shots from the field and wound up two of 14 with five points.

Sports pictures of the day: October 29

Sports images of the day: Our picture editor's selection

UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 29 October 2012

Each day, MailOnline sports picture editor Dave Muir will choose his favourite photographs from around the world in the past 24 hours.

Enjoy today's selection right here…

The St.Louis cheerleaders perform during the NFL International Series match between the New England Patriots and the Rams at Wembley

The St.Louis cheerleaders perform during the NFL International Series match between the New England Patriots and the Rams at Wembley

The San Francisco Giants celebrate beating the Detroit Tigers in the World Series

The San Francisco Giants celebrate beating the Detroit Tigers in the World Series

River Plate fans mock Boca Juniors with a inflatable flying pig during the Superclasico in Buenos Aires

River Plate fans mock Boca Juniors with a inflatable flying pig during the Superclasico in Buenos Aires

Japan's Naoko Fujioka punches Mexico's Victoria Argueta in the sixth round of their WBC minifly bout

Japan's Naoko Fujioka punches Mexico's Victoria Argueta in the sixth round of their WBC minifly bout

Serena Williams holds her WTA Championship trophy after her victory against Maria Sharapova in Istanbul

Serena Williams holds her WTA Championship trophy after her victory against Maria Sharapova in Istanbul

World Series: San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers to take two-game lead

San Francisco take Giant stride towards World Series after grabbing two-game lead

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UPDATED:

08:29 GMT, 26 October 2012

The San Francisco Giants took a 2-0 lead in the World Series with a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in game two of the best-of-seven series.

Having posted an 8-3 win in Wednesday night's opener, Pablo Sandoval becoming only the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game, the Giants took another significant step towards a second title in three years with another impressive home win.

The two starting pitchers – San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner and Detroit's Doug Fister – matched each other blow for blow in the early part of game two to ensure it was 0-0 through six innings.

Jump for joy: San Francisco Giants celebrate after beating Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in California

Jump for joy: San Francisco Giants celebrate after beating Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in California

Blowing bubbles: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval starred in game one but couldn't continue his dream run

Blowing bubbles: Giants baseman Pablo Sandoval starred in game one but couldn't continue his dream run

World Series results and schedule

Game 1 – San Francisco won 8-3
Game 2 – San Francisco won 2-0
Game 3 – October 27 – Detroit
Game 4 – October 28 – Detroit
Game 5 – October 29 – Detroit
Game 6 – October 31 – San Francisco
Game 7 – November 1 – San Francisco

Brandon Crawford drove in the go-ahead run with a double-play grounder with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, though, and Hunter Pence added an insurance run for San Francisco with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

The Tigers were limited to two hits by Bumgarner and relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, the former striking out eight in seven shutout innings.

The teams will travel to Detroit on Friday before continuing the series with game three at Comerica Park on Saturday night.

Insurance run: San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence hits out in the eighth inning

Insurance run: San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence hits out in the eighth inning

Crucial: Hunter Pence watches his sacrifice fly that scored Angel Pagan

Bumgarner said: 'It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall.'

Reflecting on the regular-season trips to Detroit, he added: 'They were stressful series. Both the series we played there were tough. It's nice, but we can't relax. We got to keep pushing.'

No pain, no gain: Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (floored) reacts after being hit by the bat

No pain, no gain: Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (floored) reacts after being hit by the bat

Dramatic: San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan signals for time after stealing second in the eighth inning

Dramatic: San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan signals for time after stealing second in the eighth inning

Sports pictures of the day: June 22

Sports images of the day: Our picture editor's selection

UPDATED:

14:23 GMT, 22 June 2012

Each day, MailOnline sports picture editor Dave Muir will choose his favourite photographs from around the world in the past 24 hours.

Enjoy today's selection right here…

Padiwat Jaemjan of Thailand competes in the water ski tricks final at the Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China

Padiwat Jaemjan of Thailand competes in the water ski tricks final at the Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China

Nick McCrory (left) and David Boudia dive in the 10m platform synchro final at the US Olympic trials in Washington

Nick McCrory (left) and David Boudia dive in the 10m platform synchro final at the US Olympic trials in Washington

Detroit Tigers right fielder Don Kelly tumbles into the stands against the St Louis Cardinals

Detroit Tigers right fielder Don Kelly tumbles into the stands against the St Louis Cardinals

Iran's Hassan Mobarhan Abdollahi after beating hosts China at beach football

Iran's Hassan Mobarhan Abdollahi after beating hosts China at beach football

Kibwe Johnson in the hammer at the US Olympic trials in Beaverton

Kibwe Johnson in the hammer at the US Olympic trials in Beaverton