Kidd savours London hat-trick


Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Should the NBA ever launch a London team, Jason Kidd might be ready to sign up as coach.

Kidd enjoyed his third win in as many years at the O2 Arena on Thursday night, coaching his Milwaukee Bucks to a 95-79 win over a woeful New York Knicks team who lost a 16th straight game.

Kidd was here as a Knicks player two years ago, helping them beat Detroit, and returned last year to coach the Brooklyn Nets to victory over Atlanta.

With a perfect record, it is not hard to see why Kidd is a big fan of the NBA’s continuing ventures into the British market.

“I love it,” Kidd said. “As a player and a coach I’ve had some success. I’ve been very fortunate as a player to have good team-mates and as a coach to have great players so we can deliver.

“When you come over here I’ve always enjoyed being able to showcase your talent and watch the greatest players play the game of basketball.”

The Bucks certainly got to showcase themselves in this game as they jumped into a 14-0 lead and just kept going against the listless Knicks, who welcomed star names Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire back from injury but had to let them shake off the rust in the early going.

“It was a great trip for our team,” said OJ Mayo, who led Milwaukee with 22 points. “And with the NBA, we showed off our organisation to play basketball in London.”

Most of the star-studded sell-out crowd of 18,689 were here to cheer on the Knicks, something that was hard to do as they looked lost for much of the game.

They are deep in a rebuilding phase under the eye of famed coach – and now team president – Phil Jackson, but that only partly excuses the display put on here.

While Anthony and Stoudemire should have been a boost – Anthony led the team with 25 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter – coach Derek Fisher admitted their return played a role in the Knicks giving Milwaukee a 14-point head-start.

“Sometimes when you get key guys back others guys almost take a step back as though they’re going to do all the work,” he said. “A lot of the quote-unquote other guys couldn’t find a way to get themselves going out there to impact the game.”

Despite the one-sided contest the night will go down as another success for the NBA, which may not share the NFL’s immediate designs on creating a London franchise, but is certainly interesting in pushing the British market further.

“This is a big stage over here – as soon as the game was announced, it was sold out within minutes,” said Anthony, who won Olympic gold here in 2012.

“That shows you right there that there is an interest over here, there is a fan base over here for the game of basketball.

“The game has grown and the NBA is doing a great job, especially here in London.”

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

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