Everything you need to know about NBA at the O2
If you’ve been lucky enough to lay your hands on some tickets for either of the two nights of fast-paced basketball which is going to take place at the O2 next month when the New Jersey Nets take on the Toronto Raptors, you might want to brush up on your b-ball knowledge. Here’s what you need to know…
The Nets and the Raptors play in the Eastern Conference. And, in the lead up to their trip to the UK they’ll both be taking on some of the biggest teams; the three games prior to travelling see the Nets face NBA favourites Boston Celtic, the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets, while the Raptors will take on the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately for them, neither team is currently doing too well- both are sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division of their Conference!
Going by recent form, the Nets look the more likely to return home victorious; 55 games into the season they’ve won 17 and lost 38, while the Raptors are a little worse off, with 15 wins and 40 losses. However, the Nets are still reeling from their disastrous 2009/10 campaign in which they set the record for the worst NBA start ever; losing their first 18 games in a row, so it looks like we’re set for two nights of really open competition.
Keep an eye out for the two star centres; Brook Lopez (in the #11 Nets Jersey) and Andrea Bargnani (in the #7 Raptors jersey). Both are the top average point scorers for their teams and are likely to boost their total points tally whilst in the UK.
You can expect a fair few famous faces at the games. Lewis Hamilton, David Hayes and Didier Drogba are a few of the UK-based stars who’ve got their hands on sports tickets for previous games, though the Nets could bring a few well known supporters from across the pond; their forward Kris Humphries is dating US socialite Kim Kardashian, their Slovenian guard Sasha Vujacic is engaged to tennis star Maria Sharapova and the club is part owned by rap legend Jay Z.
Whenever the NBA travels abroad, a sell-out crowd is virtually guaranteed. Just last October, the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Minnesota Timberwolves at a full-to-capacity O2, while the Association has also travelled to Milan, Paris and Barcelona in recent years. O2 tickets for the March 2011 games are set to sell out so be sure to snap yours up now if you want to witness the action.
The Nets actually started life as the New Jersey Americans. It wasn’t until they moved their home ground to New York that they decided to re-name themselves to rhyme with some of NYC’s other big-name sports teams; the New York Mets (baseball) and the New York Jets (American football).
The USA Olympic Basketball team are undisputed champions – up to the 2008 Games, they’d won 12 Gold medals with the Soviet Union their closest rivals with just 2 Golds! The O2 will be the Olympic Basketball venue next year so any players who are selected for the US national team will undoubtedly be getting a sneak peek!
Information compiled by GetMeIn.com, the leading marketplace for fans to buy and sell tickets.