Knicks at Pistons
The NBA has been expanding into global markets at rapid speed since the debut of the Dream Team in the 1992 Summer Olympics. That expansion now includes actual regular-season games overseas, with the New York Knicks facing off against the Detroit Pistons in London’s O2 Arena on Thursday afternoon. Knicks stars Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler both were members of the gold medal-winning Team USA squad in London this past summer.
The Pistons will be serving as the home team as they attempt to win for the eighth time in their last 11 games. Both teams have enjoyed a long break due to the travel and have been practicing in London for the past couple of days. New York, which will get a total of seven days off before and after the contest, could use the down time to rest the oldest roster in the league. The Knicks snapped a three-game slide with a home win over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday but have struggled to a 6-8 record over the last month.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBATV
ABOUT THE KNICKS (24-13): New York was 18-5 after a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 15 but has put together back-to-back wins only once over the last 14 contests. With Raymond Felton out with a broken finger, veteran Jason Kidd has been logging more minutes than planned at the point guard position, while Amar'e Stoudemire works himself back into shape and Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby try to make it back from another round of injuries. The Knicks could get a youth infusion on Thursday, when second-year guard Iman Shumpert is scheduled to make his return to the lineup following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Shumpert’s return could be a big boost for the defense, which has gone from an average of 92.1 points allowed in the first 23 games to 97.9 in the last 14.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (14-24): Detroit was crushed at New York 121-100 on Nov. 25, a setback that dropped the team to 3-11. The Pistons eventually would bottom out at 7-21 before showing signs of life over the past few weeks. Rookie center Andre Drummond has paired with Greg Monroe to become a difficult matchup for opposing frontcourts, while Brandon Knight has made steady improvement as the starting point guard. Knight had his first game this season without a turnover in a win at Milwaukee on Friday and scored 16 points in Saturday’s 90-87 loss to the Utah Jazz. Detroit was one of the worst offensive teams in the league during its slow start but has reached the century mark in six of its last 10 contests.
1. The Knicks have taken four straight in the all-time series by an average of 23.3 points.
2. Detroit G Rodney Stuckey (dental surgery) made the trip to London and is expected to play.
3. New York coach Mike Woodson spent some time nearly 20 years ago working in the promotions department for the Manchester Giants, a professional basketball team based in England.