It was London, but it could have been Midtown Manhattan. With Spike Lee courtside, with the Detroit Pistons not looking any more formidable in England than they do at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks rolled to a 102-87 victory Thursday that had most of the sellout crowd of 18,689 cheering in approval.
With Carmelo Anthony’s two-week fast behind him, with Iman Shumpert back on the court for the first time this season, the Knicks jumped to a 16-2 lead in the first quarter, fought off a Pistons counterattack in the second half, then coasted to the finish line, their four-day jaunt to England having worked out just fine.
Technically, this was a road game for the Knicks. But only technically. There was plenty of Knicks blue and orange in the stands and numerous jerseys with Anthony’s name on the back. Either a lot of former New Yorkers are living in and around London, or a lot of English N.B.A. fans are picking up on the Knicks, whose victory pushed their record to 25-13, behind only Miami in the Eastern Conference.