The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets begin their journey home after playing their two preseason games amidst rising tensions.
It seemed unlikely that the two teams would get to play as scheduled due to the cancellation of some small events that were to take place before the match, like the Lakers’ NBA care event.
The tensed condition follows from the effect of a tweet by Houston Rockets’ manager, Daryl Morey, who mentioned the ongoing Hong Kong crisis, asking for them to be free. The tweet was found offensive by the Chinese. China has been known to treat any comment regarding its island state with serious interest. The fact that Morey deleted the tweet did not help matters.
Going into the game, the Chinese station in charge of broadcasting the game declined to do so. In the two games, there was an absence of the media to capture the game for either side of the team. The NBA Commissioner, Adams Silver, had his pregame conference canceled. Little wonders few expected the game to start as planned.
However, the first game started at the normal time, and the atmosphere inside was quite different from the one outside or from what most people would have expected. The seats were full, with fans bursting with energy who were quick to praise the Lakers’ star, Lebron James, whenever he played in a ball. The first game was quite uneventful, although not for the Nets side as Kyrie Irving had to leave the court after spending less than two minutes after taking a ball to his face.
The second leg of the game was not any worse, as fans in Shenzhen maintained the same energy, displaying their love for the game and James. Anthony Davis of Lakers suffered a sprain in his right thumb and had to be taken off the court.
No doubt, things may still be strained between China and the NBA, but the Chinese fans are not allowing their government’s policy or orientation to affect their love for the game. Hopefully, China and the NBA can resolve differences soon and come to a better understanding.
In the two games, the Nets came out on top, winning 114-111 in the first leg, and 91-77 in the Saturday game. They now lead 3-0 in the preseason game. The Lakers would be up against the Golden States Warriors on Monday.
Written by: Leon Osamor