I spent my Saturday just like Friday with some shopping but also took TFL bus 23 which passes quit a few remarkable sights of London, like Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus and St. Paul's Cathedral. Still, my mind was all Raptors or especially, how I could trick my way into the lower bowl to catch the Raptors/Fan590 radio crew Paul Jones and Eric Smith.
On our way to The O2 to meet up with fellow Raptors fans from the UK, Transport for London screwed us over the first time: Part of the only underground towards The O2 was closed down for maintenance and we had to go another, longer route and missed meeting the guys for dinner.
We got there in time to queue up early though and with some sweet-talking and persuasion, I managed to get into the lower bowl, though I was nearly thrown out twice. Still, I managed to scream loud enough for Eric Smith, who hollered Paul Jones to join us and we had a nice talk about the Raptors and Fridays game, as well as other things like travelling where Eric impressed me with his knowledge about European low cost airlines.
Hands down, meeting those guys was the highlight of my day and I want to thank them - again - for taking time to chat with me and also to pose for some pictures like the one in this post!
We then tried to get one of those Footlocker foam fingers for my friend but we were unable to so we decided to grab some stuff from the concession and head to our seats. Contrary to Friday, were we had been in front of the upper bowl block, we were now in the second to last row and even though we saw still fair enough, GBP 55 (circa EUR 65, CAD 90) is quite steep for those seats basically IN the roof...
The crowd was into the game early and, like the night before, I was mainly surrounded by Raptors fans. From the cheers, I assume the overall crowd was favouring the Nets though, especially the lower bowl. I'm unsure if it seemed the same way on TV, but from my seat it sure seemed this way.
The game was, again, great and I was happy the Raptors were in it for 4 quarters and two overtimes! Unfortunately, at this point the TFL screwing us came into full effect the second time: Since the underground connecting to our hotel was terminating early, we, among quite a few other spectators, had to leave just after the third overtime had started and we were lucky to catch the second to last train to our hotel. Cab was no option for us neither as our shopping spree left us basically broke besides the unavoidable cab fare in the morning towards our bus to the airport as underground service doesn't start until after we were supposed to check in on Sundays.
Unlike at the O2, whose Wifi didn't work for me the whole night after one tweet while at the entrance, thankfully I had working internet and immediately checked the final score. Obviously I was disappointed that the Raptors had lost the second London game too, though it stayed tight until the very end from what I gathered.
In the end, it was still a great night and I stayed positive even though I am still mad at TFL and the Wifi at The O2! It honestly makes me wonder how they will fare next year at the Olympics. To me, it was not really a soaring recommendation.
I am typing this on my flight back to Vienna on just 90ish minutes of sleep and I hope you can all forgive me for whatever nonsense I might have come up with. I will give a fourth and last post about the whole of my first ever NBA experience in the next few days with more pictures. For now you can follow me on Twitter @Euro4Raps and before I cant force my eyes open anymore, let me thank one other awesome guy: James, thanks for giving me an audience to write about my trip to London!
As I mentioned in the opening the thanks goes to Micheal and once he gets home and settle he is going send me some more pictures of his trip and some up his experience. Look for that on Monday or Tuesday.