Basketball: New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony relishes London return but it's strictly business

Knicks take on the Detroit Pistons at the O2 tonight

The Detroit Pistons players spent this afternoon exploring London – at least those who were prepared to venture out in the cold did – but for a couple of the New York Knicks, who will provide their opponents in tonight's NBA excursion across the Atlantic, there were footsteps to be retraced, and golden ones too.

In August, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler were part of the latest Dream Team assembled to bring a genuine US global triumph in a team sport, winning Olympic gold at the North Greenwich Arena, as it was rebranded for the 2012 Games.

Anthony revelled in his London Olympic experience – his third Games and second gold – breaking the United States scoring record with 37 points, scored in just 14 minutes of game time, in a thumping of Nigeria. That came during the preliminary stages played on the Olympic Park before the games switched south of the river for the knockout stages, where the US beat Spain in the final.

"How can I forget? It was a special time in my life, a special moment," said Anthony of his first visit to London. "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."

Tonight the O2 is back, and Anthony and Chandler are back, this time on domestic duty as the Knicks look to cement their leadership of the Atlantic Division and add more weight to suggestions this could be their year. If it is then victory over a Pistons side undergoing a rebuilding process is a must ahead of Monday's rather more local affair back home with the Brooklyn Nets, their closest pursuers in the division.

"Do we have an opportunity to win a title this year? Absolutely," said Mike Woodson, the Knicks coach. "If we stay healthy and play at a level that I think we can play at, we'll put ourselves in that position. But first we've got to play the Pistons and we'll deal with that first and foremost."

Woodson, like all involved in this long-haul league game, accepts there is more to the fixture – it's about spreading the NBA gospel in an area, or perhaps a marketplace, still to be converted. "I think as an organisation, to be able to go outside your country and expand your sport, to me it helps everybody," he said.

This is the second regular-season visit by the NBA to London. Two years ago, the then New Jersey Nets swept past the Toronto Raptors in two games. Last year was left blank because of the Games and this year it is just the one fixture being contested. It remains, though, very much a "business trip" as Greg Monroe of the Pistons put it.

"This is not about vacation and I don't think any of us is treating it that way," said Woodson. "This is a regular-season game. It's a game that we have got to win. It's not about vacation time. Vacation's in the summer."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions