Shumpert to return at O2?
By Dave Ryan
British basketball fans at tonight's NBA game in London may get to see the first game of the season for New York Knicks' guard Iman Shumpert.
The 6'5" former Georgia Tech player suffered a knee injury while dribbling in midcourt against Miami Heat in last season's play-offs, having already suffered a similar injury that caused him to and miss out on a place in the 2012 Dunk Contest.
Shumpert finished 5th in the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year voting and his return tonight would be a major boost for a Knicks team who will be missing starting point guard Raymond Felton along with veterans Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby.
"We will see how he feels tomorrow," head coach Mike Woodson told NBA.com. "We just have to make sure he doesn't have any setbacks and if not, he will play on Thursday against the Pistons."
"Coming up in London, my first chance to play ball again, it's been a long time," said Shumpert. "I was really happy but sort of in awe at the same time that I made it through all that I made it through."
With his depleted side facing only one game in a week - which is virtually unheard of in the NBA - Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony is happy to be in London: "I think the NBA did a great job with the way they scheduled it, getting us over there three days early, give us a chance to get acclimated to London, and then coming back having some days off as well. So this is a big week for us as far as getting our bodies right and taking care of the things we've got to take care of."
Anthony will certainly feel at home when the action starts at the O2 as both players were in the USA team that won three games there on the way to gold at last summer's Olympics. Knicks' guard Pablo Prigioni also made three Olympic appearances at the iconic venue, but didn't appear too happy in the final seconds of last game there as he was seen kicking a clock off the scorer's table in anger after Argentina lost to Russia in the bronze medal game.
The game follows the league's first-ever regular-season games in Europe held in March 2011, which included a pair of sold-out contests between the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets also played at The O2. Following NBA London Live 2013, the NBA will have played a total of 115 games internationally since 1988, including 16 regular-season games in Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Tonight's game sees both the coaches from last Sunday's thrilling BBL Cup final in action as commentators. Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders' play-caller Rob Paternostro is part of the commentary team for Sky Sports, while Newcastle Eagles' player-coach Fab Flounoy is joined by former Riders and Great Britain guard Flinder Boyd on Radio 5Live.
- The Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks go head-to-head at The O2 on January 17 as part of NBA London Live presented by adidas.