The Boston Celtics fought from 22 points down to overcome the Philadelphia 76ers 114-103 at the 02 Arena in London.
In what was the eighth NBA game to be held at the 02 since 2011, it took Celtics a little while to get going, but the eastern conference leaders ultimately secured a comfortable win, taking their record to 34-10.
In front of a star-studded crowd including Premier League players Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, the 76ers rallied around Ben Simmons to establish a 22-point lead midway through the second quarter.
But the Celtics turned to their own young talent, most notably Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as star Kyrie Irving, who eventually came to life after a quiet first-half. Boston also boast the NBA’s best defence and they shut down the 76ers once they had taken the lead, limiting Joel Embiid to just 15 points.
It was certainly a coup for London to host an NBA team as prestigious as the Celtics, especially given their current position in the league. Led by Irving, the Celtics are a young, exciting team, with many saying that they may already be championship material. Boston vs Philadelphia is also a classic eastern rivalry, and the 76ers were definitely interesting opponents in this game.
It’s important for the growth of the NBA that London continues to stage fixtures as appealing as this one, rather than, say, the 2014 match-up between the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets.
The game also took place only hours after the NFL announced their 2018 London fixtures, including the first NFL game to be played at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium. The Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks will become the first NFL teams to play at the New White Hart Lane when they meet on October 14, before the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers face the Tennessee Titans at Wembley later in the year.