The Nets and Lakers preseason game in China did indeed go on as planned, despite concern from the NBA and the players about the status of the game amid China pulling support from the league following Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the protests in Hong Kong last Friday.
Sponsors from the game pulled out and workers were forced to resand the court to rid it of painted on sponsor logos, while CCTV in China broadcast a soccer game in place of the Nets and Lakers.
No corporate logos on the floor tonight – I’m told that after several sponsors pulled out, workers had to re-sand the floors because the original logos had been painted on. pic.twitter.com/OTshOMFqlF
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 10, 2019
On CCTV in China, I'm told, instead of Lakers/Nets they are showing Chinese soccer …
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 10, 2019
The atmosphere was strange, to say the least, but basketball was played, which turned out to be unfortunate for Kyrie Irving. The Nets new star guard is playing with a mask once again after suffering a facial fracture in a pickup game prior to camp when he was struck by an inadvertent elbow. Early in the game against the Lakers, Irving crowded Rajon Rondo in the corner and leaned in too far, once again getting hit in the face as he poked the ball out of bounds, causing him to immediately come out of the game in pain.
Kyrie took a shot to the face while wearing protective mask, leaves game and looks in pain on the bench pic.twitter.com/R5mlUpG778
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 10, 2019
The Nets would quickly rule Irving out for the remainder of the game and it remains to be seen if he will play in the second preseason game, but for a player trying to acclimate himself to a new team, it’s an inauspicious start to the season to battle a facial fracture that may keep him off the court in game situations.