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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
NBA teams put on London showcase
By Rob Dugdale at the O2 Arena

Ray Allen helps his Boston Celtics side to a 92-81 win over Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 Arena (photo by Mansoor Ahmed)
Ray Allen stole the show for Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics ran out comfortable winners of the NBA Europe Live game, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 92-81 at the O2 Arena.

Ray Allen stole Kevin Garnett's thunder by scoring 28 points, including five three-pointers.

The Celtics pulled away either side of the half-time interval to post a 12-point lead after three quarters.

Garnett finished with just nine points. Ricky Davis led the Timberwolves' scoring with 18 points.

606: DEBATE

Britain can look forward to hosting further NBA games in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, according to NBA Commissioner David J. Stern.

Although the commissioner would not be drawn on any specifics, he said: "It's fair to say that the conversations with respect to that have begun."

The game at the O2 is the first time the NBA has played a live game in Britain since 1995, but Stern's words of 24 hours earlier - that the UK has been the NBA's toughest market to crack in Europe - looked accurate with a number of empty seats at tip-off.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton enjoys watching the game at the 02 Arena (photo by Mansoor Ahmed)
Lewis Hamilton takes time out from Formula One by watching the game

Those seats filled up in the first quarter and the NBA are unlikely to be deterred. "Thank you Great Britain and we look forward to returning," Stern told a news conference.

There is even speculation that the NBA may site its annual All-Star Game in London in the near future, an idea Stern says "gets knocked around a lot".

"KG (Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett) told me it would be a good idea to do it, hopefully before he retires," joked Stern.

"The players would like it, but there are not immediate plans."

But with the NHL already having come to London this summer and the NFL due to arrive within the week, visits by the major American sporting leagues look set to become a feature of the British autumn.

"What the O2 does is provide the opportunity for an NBA-style experience because of the lighting, the rigging, the video boards, the music system," said Stern.

"It's fun to be able to come to buildings that are more modern and give the fans a better experience."

We're going to do whatever we can to help grow the game of basketball in Britain

NBA Commissioner David J. Stern

Stern also revealed that he will be meeting a number of officials in British basketball and the Ministry of Sport, as well as the Olympic Games organising committee.

"Our research is that in Great Britain, basketball is the third most-played sport among those aged 18 and over.

"We're going to do whatever we can to help grow the game of basketball in Britain," he said.

"That's anything we can do by the way of training, coaching, games, preparation, you name it.

"We're really thrilled that Great Britain qualified for European Division A. Everything seems to be coming together as we head towards 2012."



SEE ALSO
NBA plans bright British future
10 Oct 07 |  Basketball
Boston get Garnett in major deal
31 Jul 07 |  Basketball
London venue to host NBA teams
19 Feb 07 |  Basketball
Garnett nets MVP honour
03 May 04 |  US Sport
Sheffield return to BBL's summit
06 Oct 07 |  Basketball


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