NBA London 2015 Preview: Bucks vs Knicks

It’s that time of year again.

The NBA is once again heading to London, continuing a trend which looks like it’s in as full a flow as the River Thames itself.

This year it’s the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks battling it out in our capital in this Eastern Conference match-up, in a game which has lost plenty of dazzle thanks to a mixture of injuries and poor form.

Jabari Parker, Larry Sanders, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Damien Inglis are the names which were once promised to be making the court in London on Thursday, but none of them will be on court, either due to injury or recent trades.

The likes of Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire and most importantly Carmelo Anthony are also questionable to make the court. This gives a fairly bleak outlook on the game for fans and analysts alike, but there is still hope that NBA London could be a showstopper.

If anyone is to turn New York’s current luck it’s Melo, and if he does suit up, he might be able to make this game a real contest.

The Knicks have been astonishingly poor so far this season, currently sitting with a 5-35 record and are in the middle of a barren run of 15 straight losses. In fact, the team has been so poor, some fans have resorted to laughable measures to ensure they aren’t associated with the franchise…

Knicks fans

The Bucks have had a much better run of it so far this season, and have been one of the surprises of the season so far.

Jason Kidd’s Brooklyn based nightmare is clearly over and he’s overseen the development of the Milwaukee Bucks effective brand of basketball, and they’re clearly challenging for a playoff spot. Most notably, the Bucks currently sit half a game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were expected to be one of the beasts of the East.

Brandon Knight has been one of the real bright parts of the Wisconsin based franchise’s season so far, having taken charge of the team. Giannis Antetokounmpo is also stepping up his game, and the Greek Freak will be hoping to bring some of the continental style to Britain.

On paper the Bucks should be trampling the Knicks, but seeing as London has become somewhat of a second home to one of the NBA’s most well-known franchises in New York, we should expect a fight from Derek Fisher’s team.

Regardless of the fight though, New York will be facing a real task trying to clip the Bucks, who so far this season have already beaten them twice.

Both teams have already arrived in London ahead of the game, and both sets of players are excited to get into the thick of the UK experience.

Carmelo Anthony, who’s now visiting London for the third time on basketball related activity was already reminiscing about previous times in the English capital when he arrived:

“It’s great to be back. I have some wonderful memories here – winning gold with the US Men’s National Team at the 2012 Olympics and then playing for the Knicks at The O2 in 2013.

Melo Olympics

The Olympics was one of the best experiences I’ve ever both on and off the court. I’ll always remember winning the gold medal here in London. The fans are great and I am looking forward to the game on Thursday.”

Similarly, Giannis Atetokounmpo was also thrilled to be heading to the UK with the Bucks:

“I’m very excited to be in London. This is the first time I’ve travelled outside of the US with my team and it’s something I’ve been really looking forward to.

I’ve spoken with Brandon (Knight), who came here before (2013 with the Pistons), and he told me all about London. I just can’t wait to explore the city and to play at The O2.”

Both clubs will undergo practice at the O2 Arena before the game on Thursday, whilst the British fans are already promising an electric atmosphere having sold out the event once again, giving the NBA some food for thought when it comes to the possibility of bringing more regular season match-ups to English shores.

The Milwaukee Bucks take on the New York Knicks at NBA Global Games London 2015 at The O2 on January 15. The game is live on BT Sport 1 and on NBA LEAGUE PASS. To follow the NBA in the UK visit www.facebook.com/nbauk

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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