Chinese state TV maintains NBA blackout as games resume

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the LA Clippers as NBA games resumed on July 30, 2020. (NBAE via Getty Images/AFP)
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Updated 31 July 2020

Chinese state TV maintains NBA blackout as games resume

  • The NBA commands a huge following in China, its biggest and most lucrative market outside of the US

BEIJING: China’s state broadcaster CCTV maintained its blackout of NBA games as the American basketball league resumed on Friday, extending a freedom-of-speech stand-off that stretches back more than nine months.
Although Chinese Internet giant Tencent streamed the NBA’s return from a four-month coronavirus shutdown, the world’s most popular basketball competition remained inaccessible to China’s TV audiences.
CCTV suspended all broadcasts of NBA matches in October after a Houston Rockets executive tweeted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, unleashing a firestorm of criticism in China.
The NBA commands a huge following in China — its biggest and most lucrative market outside of the US — and the subsequent fall-out has cost the league more than $300 million in revenue.
After NBA executives defended Morey’s right to freedom of expression, numerous Chinese business partners and celebrities cut ties with the league, games in China were canceled and the season was pulled from the airwaves.
CCTV — which holds exclusive TV rights for the league in China — posted a statement in May reiterating it had severed ties with the NBA, in response to online rumors that the games may be broadcast again.
“On issues concerning China’s sovereignty, CCTV Sports’ attitude is solemn, clear and consistent with no room whatsoever for ambiguity or maneuver,” CCTV wrote.
As the league tried to contain the fallout, US politicians also slammed the league for trying to appease the Chinese government.
In May, the NBA named Michael Ma — the son of CCTV Sports executive Ma Guoli — as CEO of NBA China, as speculation swirled that his appointment could help warm ties with the state broadcaster.
However, the nationalist tabloid Global Times wrote earlier this month that “it remains unlikely that the games will return to Chinese platforms if the issues between the NBA and the Chinese public are not solved.”
It emerged earlier this week that the NBA last year ended its association with a training center in China’s western Xinjiang region, where Beijing faces growing international condemnation over its treatment of minorities.
An ESPN report this week alleged that young players at the NBA’s China academies were physically abused and left without schooling, and that the NBA was “re-evaluating” the program.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”