stars flock to theatre of the absurd as NBA stars take a back seat in London

It is familiar, this disorientating effect. We British like our sport served up with a breathless intensity, but the Pistons 102 87 defeat on Thursday night to the New York Knicks came layered with such incessant interruptions that all but the most ardent aficionados swiftly lost touch with the balance of play. Carmelo Anthony metronomic free throws for the wholesale falcons jerseys Knicks were all very well, but they became almost incidental as the audience eyes wandered to gyrating cheerleaders and the Pistons donkey mascot bashing an oversized drum.

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. The only roars of recognition were reserved for the extravagantly tattooed Anthony, New York scoring automaton, and director Spike Lee, resplendent in Knicks colours at courtside in blue and day glo orange.

Detroit performed true to type. Few realistically expected them, with 24 losses in their first 38 games, to challenge the Knicks, top of the Eastern Conference Atlantic division as the sides headed to London. And so it proved, as the Pistons skulked off at half time 15 points in arrears after Anthony first half barrage.

Sport in Detroit was until recently a running joke: the hapless Lions lost all 16 of their regular season NFL games in 2008, the only franchise ever to do so. The trend was at last bucked by the Tigers advance to last autumn baseball World Series, but the Pistons looked unlikely to be bestowing more glory upon the most recession ravaged city in America. The popular affection for the Knicks was tangible, if only because of a glamorous celebrity fan base including Woody Allen and Calvin Klein.

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Detroit predicament was captured even before tip off when Tayshaun Prince, seeking to pay thanks to the city of London found his microphone abruptly cut off. The night musical turns made a passing effort to make them feel at home. Alexandra Burke gave our poor unsuspecting national anthem the full X Factor treatment, complete with several octave changes, while somehow resisting the urge to follow her victorious with I get a whoop whoop? Mercifully, the Star Spangled Banner was given a more delicate rendition by a Lakenheath staff Cheap NHL Jerseys sergeant in US Air Force regalia.

The appetite for such showpieces seems to be strengthening. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner elect, confirmed yesterday that Manchester would host a pre season game next year, with further dates on the UK circus being drafted. Sky Sports is already preparing to sate the slavish demand with a regular double header on Sunday nights.

Outgoing NBA chief David Stern has been candid in his ambition to base a franchise in London within the next 20 years, and his project received the backing of Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who said: time you have an opportunity for English fans to see basketball at a high level, that important for growing the game.

This contest, despite its one Authentic Atlanta Falcons Jerseys Cheap Supply From China sided nature, did deliver in terms of quality. Detroit Kyle Singler gamely tried to engineer a second half comeback, while the Knicks totems of Anthony, Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd were delivering a masterclass from three point range.

Those Arsenal aristocrats of Vieira and Robert Pires wore contented expressions from their front row seats, and few could deny that this 11th regular season instalment of the NBA in London was zealously received.

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Stern, indeed, claimed that the NBA not return often enough to their satellite base here at the O The only problem was that amid the unending din, whether from impromptu coaching clinics or Misha B shrill half time show, it was often damnably difficult to tell whether there was still a basketball match taking place.

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