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There’s an NBA game happening in China, but why?

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We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.

2019 NBA Global Games - Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets and Lakers did, in fact, have their preseason game in Shanghai. (It’s likely still happening as you read this.) Except the game wasn’t broadcast in China — after Chinese officials pulled the broadcast amid this week’s saga, they put soccer on instead. Chinese officials also cancelled all media availability before, during, and after the game: no press conferences in Shanghai for Adam Silver, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, or the teams’ coaches. China greatly reduced all promotion of the game, reportedly pulling tickets off of the market in recent days and pulling down banners near the arena.

Tania Ganguli and Alice Su wrote a scene piece on how bizarre this week has been for the Lakers and for NBA fans in Shanghai. This includes the arrest of a Rockets fan who threatened to burn the Chinese flag over the incident.

Anthony Irwin of Silver Screen and Roll writes that the NBA should have brought the teams home. Given the latest twists, it’s hard to disagree. What’s the upside here? What’s the point, at this point?

These will quite possibly be the last NBA games played in China for years. It’s hard to see how this situation thaws out any time soon.

Grand Finale

Events in Shanghai have our attention this morning, but by the evening all eyes should be on D.C. where the Mystics and Sun will battle it out one last time for the WNBA Championship. This would be the first championship for either team and the series has been a total classic. Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) should be wonderful.

Here’s Matt Ellentuck on what makes the Sun so special. Albert Lee argues that the Mystics’ epic season is a failure if they don’t win the title.

Game 5. Let’s go!


Just an incredible yarn by a high-stakes ticket scalper. What a life.

BEEF HISTORY! LeBron vs. Joakim Noah.

Sheesh, Zion Williamson is incredible — 29 points on 12-13 shooting?!

Seerat Sohi on China’s power play.

Kristaps Porzingis played for the first time in a long time and looked quite good.

Great feature by Haley O’Shaughnessy on Jrue Holiday.

Trying to make sense of the Sparks’ firing of Penny Toler and late-season disintegration.

A brief interview with the man who faithfully recreates every LeBron Instagram post, replacing LeBron with a cartoon giraffe.

Tim Bontemps on Jayson Tatum “de-Mamba-fying” his game, which is just a terrific neologism.

Alex Wong on the manga that made him and Japan fall in love with basketball.

Heavens bless Coleen Rooney.

And finally: 17 sports Halloween costume ideas, including Crying Shaq from Hot Ones.

Be excellent to each other.