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Knicks to take on Pistons in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Former NBA champions the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks will play the third regular season game in London when they meet at the 02 Arena in January.

Three-times champions Detroit and twice winners New York will follow the two London clashes in March 2011 between the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets, also played at the 02 which hosted the Olympic final in August.

"London was the epicenter of global sports this summer, and the Olympics were a tremendous showcase for basketball," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement on Thursday.

"Playing our third regular-season game in the city in three years and having historic franchises like the Knicks and Pistons serve as our ambassadors provide extraordinary opportunities to further the game's growth and development in the UK and throughout Europe."

The NBA has previously played 16 regular-season games abroad in Japan, Mexico and Britain.

Big names such as Olympic champion Carmelo Anthony will feature in the January 17 game and Knicks head coach Mike Woodson cannot wait to cross the Atlantic.

"I am excited to show our great fans in London what New York basketball is about. For Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to return to the city where they helped Team USA win the Gold makes it even more special for our team," said Woodson.

The season begins on October 30.

(Writing by Tom Pilcher, Editing by Ed Osmond)