Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving exits Nets-Lakers after taking a Rajon Rondo shot to face

Kyrie Irving exits Nets-Lakers after taking a Rajon Rondo shot to face

If you believe bad omens come in the form of elbows to the face, then you don't have a good feeling about Kyrie Irving right now.

The All-Star point guard made his Brooklyn Nets debut Thursday morning in a preaseason matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai, China.

It lasted all of 66 seconds, as Irving caught an elbow from Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo directly in the face.

This is the second facial injury Irving has suffered with Brooklyn, as he suffered a facial fracture in late September after being elbowed during a pickup game and was wearing a protective mask Thursday as a result.

Needless to say, he wasn't happy about this stroke of bad luck.

Boston Celtics fans who watched the 27-year-old divide the 2018-19 C's before bolting to Brooklyn may say Irving's injury is karma (especially since another ex-Celtic, Rondo, delivered the blow).

There's no update on his injury yet, but the Nets, already without Kevin Durant for the entire season, will be hoping their other prized free agent acquisition won't have to miss time after an unfortunate beginning with his new club.

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Kevin Durant burns Knicks, explains why no stars want to join New York

Kevin Durant burns Knicks, explains why no stars want to join New York

The New York Knicks are one of the most iconic franchises in sports. So, how did they let Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving get away in free agency ... to their crosstown rival, no less?

According to Durant, it's because the Knicks' so-called aura doesn't have as much sway as you think.

In an interview Tuesday on New York's Hot97 FM, the new Brooklyn Nets forward suggested the league's free agents view New York more by its recent struggles than its distant history of success.

"I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don't remember the Knicks being good," Durant told the "Ebro in the Morning Show, via SNY's Ian Begley.

"I didn't grow up with the Knicks. I've seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn't see that. So, that whole brand of the Knicks to them is not as cool as, let's say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.

"It's like, the cool thing right now is not the Knicks."

Durant is right about one thing: The Knicks have made the playoffs just twice in the last 15 years and won only one playoff series in the 21st century, so younger players don't associate them with winning.

It's not like the Nets are a model of success, though: Their winning campaign in 2018-19 was only their third in the least 10 years, the same number as New York in that span.

But the arrow in Brooklyn is pointing up, and the hype surrounding the franchise was enough for Durant and Irving to ditch the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, respectively. (At least New York got Marcus Morris!)

Durant will miss the entire 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury, so it will be up to Irving to prove the Nets are cooler than their cross-town rival this year.

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Atlantic Division storylines to watch this season

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USA TODAY Sports photos

Atlantic Division storylines to watch this season

BOSTON -- On the eve of training camp, the NBA is filled with its usual assortment of storylines, subplots and as always, drama. 

And there may not be another division that combines all those elements along with good basketball teams (with one exception), than the Atlantic Division. 

This is the home of the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, and one of the early preseason picks to emerge out of the East, the Philadelphia 76ers. 

And then there’s Boston and Brooklyn, two teams that are going to certainly keep things interesting because of their offseason moves which were significant not only in terms of talent but also the potential impact on winning. 

But the New York Knicks, one of the big losers this summer in terms of attracting big-name free agents, will once again be expected to take up bottom-of-the-conference status even though their roster has more talent than it did a year ago with the addition of solid but not spectacular role players like ex-Celtic Marcus Morris. 

Here’s a look at some of the key storylines for each team in the Atlantic, a key player to watch and a realistic outlook for this upcoming season.