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National Basketball Association
 

Knicks battle Pistons in the U.K.

(Sports Network) - Cheerio!

Fish and chips will be on the menu as the NBA has landed in London, England for a matchup of the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons at O2 Arena.

Thursday will mark the seventh NBA game in London, including preseason affairs. The Toronto Raptors and Nets played in London two years ago, but the teams played two games to make the trip worthwhile.

This time, the Knicks and Pistons will only play once.

The game comes just a few months after the Summer Olympics concluded in London. Knicks Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler helped the U.S. win gold in August.

"How can I forget? It was a special time in my life, a special moment," Anthony said. "Just to be back in this arena once again, having a chance to play one last time back here in London in front of the fans who've been very gracious to myself and the game of basketball, I'm excited about that."

Logistically, the trip isn't much of a nightmare, actually.

The Knicks left on Monday for the Thursday game and don't play again until Monday. It's actually been helpful to get some of the knicked-up Knicks some time to heal.

One of those players healing quickly is Iman Shumpert. The second-year guard tore his ACL and meniscus in his left knee during the first round of last season's playoffs.

Shumpert is very close to returning to the Knicks lineup and may play some minutes in London.

"Before we left, he felt pretty good," head coach Mike Woodson said of Shumpert on Wednesday. "We'll base everything on how he feels tomorrow morning. If he tells me he's ready to go, we'll put him in a uniform, dress him and play him a little bit."

The Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory Sunday, at home over the New Orleans Hornets, 100-87.

The Pistons, who technically are the home team Thursday, despite the 3,762 miles separating Detroit and London, have lost two of their last three, but won five of their last seven.

Detroit lost at home to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, 90-87, but the Pistons head coach has some international experience. Lawrence Frank took his old New Jersey Nets teams to Paris and London for preseason games.

The Pistons left Detroit at 10:00 p.m. Monday and arrived in London at 11:00 a.m. local time. They checked into the hotel, met with NBA security, then headed right to the gym to begin work.

And, the Pistons don't have the extra day the Knicks do coming home. The Pistons play the Boston Celtics on Sunday night at home.

"I'm curious how it's going to work out," Tayshaun Prince said. "But more curious how things are going to work when we come back and fight to get our legs before Sunday's game (against Boston at The Palace). But both ways can be tough. The good thing is we get over and get a couple of days. Hopefully, we'll be all right that way."

The Knicks have won four straight and eight out of nine in this series, including a 121-100 victory on Nov. 25 in Madison Square Garden.

01/17 10:53:51 ET

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