Nets & Lakers Make Major Shakeup Ahead of Explosive Preseason Matchup

Getty Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are viewed as the favorites to represent their respective conferences in this year’s NBA Finals. The two teams were also favored to meet up in last year’s NBA Finals. However, injuries ultimately led to both teams exiting the playoffs prematurely. The Lakers were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the first round and the Nets were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

While they may look good on paper, Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy says that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a championship.

“Paper doesn’t win championships for us. Those names that are on that paper, are some phenomenal names. We gotta do our work and make sure we gel,” Handy said during a recent appearance on Sirius XM Radio. “Do we fit? These guys, they gotta figure out ways to play with each other and sacrifice, and let their names take over. You know, you look at that piece of paper and say, Lakers are loaded automatic championship. Nah man, we got a lot of work to do in terms of just gelling, finding our rhythm, and being able to be cohesive as a unit.”

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Most of Nets & Lakers Stars Will Sit for Preseason Opener

With the Nets and Lakers both having fully healthy rosters heading into this season, most were expecting the team’s first preseason matchup to be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals. Both teams are hoping that isn’t the case as Kevin Durant and LeBron James headline a long list of stars that will be out of the October 3 matchup.

“Steve Nash said Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, Patty Mills, and James Johnson will sit out tomorrow’s preseason opener against the Lakers,” Alex Schiffer of The Athletic tweeted on October 2.

The Lakers will also have a slew of their key players in street clothes for their matchup against the Nets per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“Frank Vogel says that LeBron, Westbrook, and Melo will not play in the preseason opener Sunday against [Brooklyn]. Just general rest,” McMenamin tweeted on October 2. “Ariza, who hasn’t practiced the last couple days with a sore [right] foot/ankle, will also not play. Vogel added that Anthony Davis will play, but just [first quarter].”

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Anthony Davis Will Play in Matchup Against Nets

Lakers’ star big man Anthony Davis suffered a groin injury that held him out for most of the team’s playoff series with the Suns. That injury played a major role in them being eliminated in the first round. After being sidelined during the playoffs AD has been eager to get back onto the court. It is the main reason he is one of the few Lakers’ stars suiting up for their first preseason game.

“AD didn’t finish the season,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of his decision to play Davis per McMenamin. “He finished in street clothes because of injury. He wants to get out there, so we’ll support him on that.”

Both the Nets and Lakers had their postseasons cut short last year because of injuries to their stars. While their first matchup during the preseason is highly anticipated by fans, the smart thing to do is be cautious and save their stars for the games that count.

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