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Nets, Hawks Prepare For London NBA Game

posted 15 Jan 2014, 19:12 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 15 Jan 2014, 19:36 ]

NBA outfits Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks are latest American sports side to feature in match in the UK

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 15, 2014) (REUTERS) -  The Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks will become the latest NBA teams to play a regular season game in London this week and prepared for the game on Wednesday (January 15).

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Both sides have play off aspirations, and lie second in their respective divisions in the Eastern Conference.

Nets coach Jason Kidd, who has impressed during his rookie season in charge, believes his team need fear no one.

"That is something that we work on every day that is to try and compete against the best and be consistent no matter who we are playing and this is a new group, new staff and with that being said we are stating to play a lot better and hopefully we can get a win," he said ahead of Thursdays' game, which will take place at the 02 Arena, London.

Small forward Paul Pierce, who joined the Nets this season after a 15 year spell at the Boston Celtics, has been impressed with what he has seen so far.

"We are defending at a higher level now playing together, sharing the ball, and everybody is understanding their role," he said. "I think that is the biggest thing. A lot of these nights, even the games we have won, the defence has been holding us together especially when the offence isn't working so well."

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was also in an upbeat mood ahead of the game, and believes his team are improving all the time.

"Well I think from what we have been able to do from what we have been working on in practice and film sessions to the court I think we are pleased with that carry over. We are talking about trying to improve and get better every day, and I think we are getting better. Of course we would like to win every game but that is not realistic. But our guys' effort and attention to detail has been really good, we are really pleased with them."

Veteran Elton Brand is in a similar position to Pierce having joined an ambitious team at the end of his NBA career, and has been impressed with Budenholzer's marshalling of the Hawks side.

"I think coach Bud, our new coach has instilled that in us, an unselfish coach, share the ball, everyone plays defence and we win collectively," he said.

Inevitably when an American sports team plays in the UK - as is now happening more often - there are questions over whether players can cope with the travelling.

"Tired, a little jet-lagged, slow flight for a big guy like me the flights, they are not easy on you," Hawks forward Paul Millsap said when asked how he was feeling. "I'm just going to get some rest and hopefully shake it off."