The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will finish out a two-game series in China that has been marred by controversy and canceled events.
There is no doubt the stand-off between the NBA and China — started by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey — has played a major factor in the Lakers and Nets’ time in China. Both teams had to cancel multiple NBA Cares events while the league’s scheduled media availability was also canceled.
However, much like the first game, it appears the second game will go on as planned. And NBA fans in China are in for a treat if it’s anything like the first game. The first game, which took place early Thursday morning, saw the Nets beating the Lakers 114-111 with some great performances across the board.
On the Nets side, Spencer Dinwiddie led the scoring with 20 points while Kyrie Irving was sadly removed from the game after one minute after taking a hit to the face. That hit will also knock him out of this contest, meaning Dinwiddie will take over in the starting lineup.
On the Lakers side, head coach Frank Vogel stuck to his word of trying a number of different starting lineup combinations surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In the first preseason game against the Golden State Warriors, Vogel started James and Davis with Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and JaVale McGee. In Thursday’s matchup, that became Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Dwight Howard.
Should Vogel truly stick to his word, it’s possible that Alex Caruso will get the nod in the starting lineup instead of Bradley or Rondo. If he does, he’ll need to continue to prove that he’s worthy of significant rotation minutes, more so than some of the other guards currently playing more than him.
Caruso did play 22 minutes in Thursday’s game and while he struggled from the field, he did manage 11 points, eight assists, and three steals. It will continue to be a battle for Vogel to figure out how to split minutes between the three point guards and Quinn Cook, all of whom have benefits and flaws as players.
James and Davis continued to look dominant despite not even playing their best games. In 25 minutes each, the pair combined for 36 points and added a couple of great highlights to the reel.
The Lakers and Nets will hopefully play another intriguing game despite all that’s going on in the league, and then head back home where the former can finish out their preseason with three matchups against the Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles Lakers (1-1) vs. Brooklyn Nets (2-0)
4:30 A.M. PT, Oct. 12, 2019
Shenzhen Universiade Center, Shanghai, China
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBATV
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Danny Green
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Troy Daniels
Projected Nets Starting Lineup:
PG: Spencer Dinwiddie
SG: Caris LeVert
SF: Joe Harris
PF: Rodions Kurucs
C: Jarrett Allen
Key Reserves: DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Dzanan Musa, Garrett Temple