Roundup: Lakers in China

2013 Global Games - BeijingIn case you’ve missed anything from L.A.’s preseason trek to the Far East, we put together a list of links and notes from Beijing to Shanghai:

TRAVELING TO CHINA
Check out some video footage of the team’s journey from the private terminal at LAX to Beijing’s international airport, highlighted by some pandemonium in China upon the team’s arrival.

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Nobody could have captured the team’s visit to the Great Wall quite like Nick Young did in video form. CHECK IT. Young bought all kinds of souvenirs (including nunchucks and a hat that looks like Rayden’s from Mortal Kombat), fell off a toboggan on a descent from the Wall and generally improved USA-Chinese international relations with his good humor.

The section of the Great Wall we visited was about an hour and a half’s drive north of Beijing, in an area built up by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to help defend against Mongol raiders to the north and Manchurian tribes from the northeast.

IMG_9840TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY
The largest square in the world, bigger even than Moscow’s famed Red Square, Tian’anmen Square was a historically interesting sight for many of the team’s staffers, taking in the sheer mass of the Chinese government buildings. Just beyond the borders of the square sits the entrance to the Forbidden City, where Chinese emperors were safeguarded for 500 years. Inside, massive castle-like structures seemed to go on endlessly, separated by once heavily-fortified squares that made getting anywhere near the Emperor a ridiculous proposition.
Pictured: Lakers.com’s Ty Nowell, Zac Murray and myself. Photo credit goes to radio play-by-play voice John Ireland.

JORDAN FARMAR 1-on-1
We spoke to Jordan Farmar at the team’s first practice in China, getting an update on the strained calf that’s kept him out since the opening preseason game, his thoughts on the Far East and who was better in high school between himself and buddy/fellow L.A. native Nick Young.

KOBE BRYANT 1-on-1
Hearing Kobe Bryant talk about his Achilles will be the most important information we’ll relay up until his return to the court. China’s most popular/worshipped NBA player also addressed why he thinks he’s caught on to such a remarkable degree in the country over the years.

kobe_beijing_crowdLAKERS VS. WARRIORS IN BEIJING
Through three quarters, the Lakers played perhaps their best game of the preseason, opening an 80-69 advantage on a nearly full healthy Warriors team (only Harrison Barnes missed the game), with Kobe Bryant of course watching in street clothes. The starters were particularly good for L.A., with Chris Kaman going a perfect 7 for 7 from the field for 14 points with his 10 boards and three assists in 22 minutes; Pau Gasol scoring 15 points with six boards and three dimes in 22 minutes; Steve Nash going for eight points and four assists in 18 minutes and moving much better than he did in the previous game (where he had to leave in the second quarter with a sore ankle); and Nick Young going off for 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 4 triples, plus three assists in 23 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Warriors coach Mark Jackson played his starters nearly the entire time against L.A.’s bench group consisting of Marcus Landry, Darius Johnson-Odom, Ryan Kelly, Shawne Williams and (eventually) Steve Blake. The result was a 31-15 fourth quarter advantage and a 100-95 Warriors win, with Stephen Curry playing 37 minutes, Andre Iguodala 39, David Lee 38 and Klay Thompson 35. Overall, coach Mike D’Antoni was pleased with his team twice outplaying a healthy Warriors team this preseason.

We followed along with the Running Diary and Postgame Numbers, noting that despite the entertaining game, nothing was more exciting to the fans than when Bryant was shown on the jumbotron.

NG2_7055THE BEST VIEW IN SHANGHAI
The team went directly from the game in Beijing to the airport to hop a late-night flight to Shanghai, where they’d finally arrive at the downtown hotel in the financial district at 4:30 a.m. Shanghai is the world’s most populous city, boasting 17+ million people in the city proper alone, and 23+ million when you including surrounding areas. We got as good a perspective of the city’s mass as is possible from a restaurant on the 58th floor of the team hotel that closed throughout the day, but was opened for us to interview and photograph Chris Kaman, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly on Wednesday afternoon.

Once on the roof, we checked in with both Sacre and Kaman:
1-on-1 with Chris Kaman
1-on-1 with Robert Sacre

Up next? An NBA Cares event in Shanghai on Thursday evening, and Friday night’s game at Mercedes-Benz arena.