Toronto Raptors v Orlando Magic @ the O2 London
A NBA game in London is never quite the same as a NBA game in the States but it is still a NBA game.
The O2 was packed, despite rumours you may have heard about large numbers of empty seats. However the massive queues outside the O2 for entry were a disappointing start to the night.
I was security checked to entry the O2 and then again to enter the main arena area.I understand the need for enhanced security in the current climate however I think the O2 should have provided more security staff, and perhaps should have made people aware that two separate checks would be carried out on the night.
An additional hiccup was the incorrect seat numbers in one of the sections. This affected two young men near me. The staff spent most of the first quarter trying to figure out what was wrong with the seat numbers before finally finding a solution at the start of the second. Given that the O2 holds events most nights they really shouldn’t be experiencing these kinds of problems.
The Magic brought their cheerleaders and both teams brought the mascots. I think the mascots got some of the biggest cheers of the night. Yes that’s right, the mascots , not the cheerleaders.
The game was very entertaining, as you would expect from a NBA game. Neither team seemed to be experiencing any ill effects from travelling over. The Raptors had a good lead at the end of Q1 and it seemed that the Magic had forgotten how to play. In Q2 the Magic started to fight back and from that point on most of the game was pretty close. An overtime period was an unexpected bonus of NBA playing time.
Saturday 9 January
On the first road trip of the year, yesterday I travelled to Antwerp to watch the Giants take on Okapi Aalstar.
Looking only at the scores at the end of each period really doesn’t tell the whole story of this game. At the end of the first the teams were level on 22 and by the end of the second it was 42 for the Giants and 44 for Aalstar.
I don’t think the game felt that close in the first half. The Giants seemed to take their time to warm up in the game. Their offence seemed good to start the game but it wasn’t getting them any points and they weren’t strong enough at going for rebounds at either end of the court.
Aalstar had some poor moments as well but based on team performances I was surprised that the score was so close at half time.
Coach Roel Moors clearly said something effective at the half time break as the Giants came out much stronger, with much more energy. It was almost like watching a different team.
Aalstar hit 5 team fouls before 4 minutes had gone in the third quarter, this was surprising given that they has started the third in the lead. Fouling so much was not helping them to maintain their lead and the third period ended Giants 71 Aalstar 57.
The forth quarter started slow with both teams taking time to get new points on the board; almost 2 minutes of play passed before the first points of the quarter were scored.
It was the Giants turn to get in to foul trouble, a strange move given that they were in the lead. This didn’t affect them too much though.
A strange thing happened towards the end of the game. With 39.4 seconds on the clock the Giants called a time out. They were 21 points in the lead at this point. I have no idea what the purpose of the time out was. If anyone has any suggestions I would be interested to hear them.
Final score Antwerp Giants 93 Okapi Aalstar 70
Overall it was a strange game with periods of time where neither team played at if they wanted a win; and both teams allowing themselves to get into foul trouble at odd times.
I’ve already started planning some blog posts (well trips that will result in blog posts) for 2016.
Trip to Antwerp to see Antwerp Giants take on Okapi Aalstar
The NBA are in London again this time it’s Orlando Magic taking on the Toronto Raptors.
The month ends with a trip to Cheshire to watch them take on the London Lions.
February will be a NBA heavy month. Once again it’s All Star time.
In addition to All Star I will also be going to the following NBA games:
Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks
LA Clippers @ Boston Celtics
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets
Toronto Raptors @ New York Knicks
I will also be attending two NBA D-league games:
Maine Red Claws @ Delaware 87ers
Iowa Energy @ Westchester Knicks
There is nothing definitely planned beyond February but I expect a couple of BBL games before the end of the 2015/16 season and hopefully another European game.