So... who wants to talk about geopolitics?! Nobody? Well alright. For the Brooklyn Nets, basketball was on their minds Thursday as they took on the Los Angeles Lakers amid a sea of drama, controversy, and everything else you can think of. The Nets won what turned out to be a pretty fun game. One more to go before coming back to the States.
Like the Nets, the Lakers have one more day to go before they head back home. And like the Nets, LA is incorporating some big names into their roster and hope to go on a deep run come playoff time.
Where to follow the game
NBATV has the game. It’s likely our friends in China won’t have access to this game, or anything else NBA related for the time being. Tip off is 7:30 AM eastern time.
Kyrie Irving took a stray elbow to the face and sat out the rest of the game on Thursday. This injury doesn’t project to be too serious, but he'll miss this game as a precaution. Caris LeVert got poked in the eye early on Thursday and sat out the rest of the contest. He will play, the Nets announced Saturday night or Saturday morning. Whatever.
Kyle Kuzma didn’t make the trip as he continues to heal up from his foot injury. Jared Dudley is also nursing an injury and won’t be playing today.
If you’ve ever played an away game, you know your number one priority is to make it back home in one piece. For the Nets and Lakers, jobs one through 20 will be to get back to the States without any more injuries or international incidents. While the NBA has to deal with blowback, so does the Chinese government...
Tying sports very closely to Beijing’s handling of the Hong Kong protests may increase the risk of an international boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in China in 2022, at a town just outside of Beijing. China has been wary for many months of a possible boycott.
I’m sure everyone will figure things out before things get even hairier. At least I hope so.
In the meantime, the teams are overseas but won't have any media availability until they return to the States. Those away games...
The good thing about having a player like Spencer Dinwiddie on the team is he does his job incredibly well and can step up and take on more responsibility when your All Star guard is out. Dinwiddie will be crucial to Kenny Atkinson's second unit and will be someone to turn to in late game situations.
Even when he doesn't practice for a few days, LeBron James is still impossible to deal with. In 20 minutes, Bron put up a clean 20 points and most importantly, made all four of his free throws. James shot a career low from the foul line last year and if he manages to improve this season, LA's offense will improve dramatically.
Player to watch: DeAndre Jordan
After what we could comfortably call a subpar 2018-2019 season, Jordan has a lot to prove this time around. DJ is in competition with Jarrett Allen for the starting spot, and as we draw closer to Opening Night, we'll see who wins out. Of course, having a few more practices would've helped, but you know, politics.
The Lakers will also be running a two headed monster of sorts at Center. JaVale McGee had a surprisingly good debut Lakers season last year and is the early favorite to be the starter once LA enters the regular season. Dwight Howard is here, and he'll try not to infuriate the city of Los Angeles this time. As a backup big man, he can be helpful to Frank Vogel's second unit. This season is a make or break year of sorts for Howard, and if he manages to cause trouble in this locker room, it might be the end of him.
From the Vault
Great moments in masked NBA history, part II.
More reading: Silver Screen and Roll
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Los Angeles Lakers Game Notes - Los Angeles Lakers
- Kyrie Irving’s face is injured again and the Nets are suddenly thin - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Adam Silver, Joe Tsai acting like stooges for NBA’s China greed - Phil Mushnick - New York Post
- N.B.A.-China Spat Shows Sports Isn’t (and Shouldn’t Be) Just About Games - John Branch - New York Times