NBA in London: Sleep-deprived Pistons practice

Random news and notes from Detroit's UK invasion.

Despite a six-hour, trans-Atlantic flight in the middle of the night, the Pistons had time for just a brief nap at the team hotel before hitting the practice court on Tuesday. Needless to say, not everyone was amused. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

"It's a crime that we're here today, somebody should go to jail for this," an obviously joking Charlie Villanueva said Tuesday afternoon.

[...] "I'm tired, but no excuses," Villanueva said. "New York, I'm pretty sure they're out here, too, so there aren't excuses in the world because I know they're going to come ready to play. We got to do the same."

• Moose was able to get some rest -- and see some sights. From MLive's David Mayo:

Monroe said he slept for much of the flight but the Pistons' journey didn't end upon landing. A 70-minute bus trip to the team hotel followed, past sights such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey.

"I was asleep on that, too," Monroe said. "I heard people and I woke up every once in a while. I woke up when we were right outside Buckingham Palace, so I did get to see Buckingham Palace. But other that that, I was asleep. Shuteye."

• Austin Daye is just happy about being able to play what's technically considered a home game in front of an actual crowd. From Ellis:

"It gives us some life, it gives us some energy," forward Austin Daye said this morning, after the team practiced in front of media members. "It's something new that we really haven't experienced before.

"I think that will be good for us, especially here, playing in front of a lot people, which you don't necessarily get to have because of the tough weather in Detroit. We don't have sell-outs like we used to. It will be fun to play in front of a big crowd."

• Also from Mayo: If you want a Detroit bar in London, don't try Detroit Bar.

• Might the NBA eventually put a franchise in London? It seems like we've long heard chatter about the NBA eyeing European expansion, but David Stern recently downplayed the idea. From London's Evening Standard last month (via MLive):

"I think it is a really good opportunity for the NFL but for us, given the intensity and with our teams complaining about the schedule, it would never work unless we had multiple teams [in Europe] that could play against each other regularly.

"The NFL has much more of an advantage from that perspective because they only play 16 games in a regular season.

"But the UK remains a very intriguing market for us and a team would build a fan base gradually.

"We think the opportunity for us on a global basis remains at a very high level and a wonderful thing has happened in the last decade where our teams take great pride in representing the league internationally.

"There was a good bit of interest stirred up by the Olympics and over time that will continue."

Ellis also spoke to Rodney Stuckey, who underwent oral surgery to remove one of his front teeth on Monday -- apparently the result of taking a shot to the mouth back in December.

"We thought it wasn't that bad because it was getting tighter as time went on, but I went to the doctor and got X-rays, they found multiple fractures in my gums," Stuckey said. "It happens. It'll be fixed soon."

• And in case you missed it, a DBB reader from across the pond gave some perspective on Thursday's game in the comment section of yesterday's post. From Emile:

Just wanted to give some context to the London game from this side of the Atlantic. I went to both Nets-Raptors games two years ago (both! What an idiot) and while Raptors were the ‘home' team, the crowd was kind of cheering both. It was a really... odd atmosphere.

I remember the first free throw went to the Nets and everyone started booing in the build-up to the throw. That was weird enough but when the free throw went in, the whole building cheered. You could see the players looking at each other confused.

The second time they played each other it went to triple OT, and the building suddenly cleared out during the second OT because people started to leave to catch the last tube home (very few people drive to get around within London, it's all public transport). So by the the third OT, the building was half-empty and you had fans booing and cheering free throws by the same team.

Add in a PA explaining the rules at random intervals as things happen and as I say, the atmosphere was odd. It's the same with the NFL games held in London too, because fans aren't really supporting either team.

For what it's worth, Pistons will be the home team here but given I saw a paper two days ago advertising this game with a Ben Gordon picture, I don't really think that's saying much.

Anyway, I'm excited! Been a Pistons fan since I was a kid and I honestly thought I'd never get to see the Pistons play in person, so this is actually really awesome :)

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