Sports Out West

Xavier Henry shines in Lakers 104-95 defeat of Warriors in preseason opener

Photo Credit: RockChalkBlog.com

Ontario, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers started on the right foot Saturday by claiming their first preseason win since 2011 with a 104-95 defeat of the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers received major contribution from Xavier Henry off the bench, who scored 14 out of his game-high 29 points in the decisive fourth quarter.

“I knew it would come back around with me working hard,” Henry said. “I found a team that I can play with that guys are unselfish and found a coach that believes in me. When you have those two things you can do anything.” 

Henry’s productive game of 29 points, seven rebounds and two steals caught the attention of head coach Mike D’Antoni.

“He shot it good tonight,” D’Antoni. “He was confident. He is always going to play very physical, plays great defense, run the floor. He is going to do all that. His big thing is shot selection and tonight he did it. If he continues to do that. He can play.” 

The 22-year-old also nailed a half court heave to end a high-scoring first half that put the Lakers up 60-57 at the break.

“That was a crazy shot,” Henry said. “I have had coaches that believe in don’t worry about your field goal percentage. If you have time to get it up shoot it. Some guys like to wait at the buzzer then shoot it. You never know what’s going to happen. I didn’t even catch the ball I bobbled it half-ways down the court. Soon as I had it in my hands I looked up at the rim and shot it and it went in “

Henry felt Saturday’s win was a product of the team playing well in training camp so far.

“We were all amped,” Henry said. “We had a great training camp so far. We have been going at each other every day and you compound that with great coaches that teaches great defense not just offense.”

The game was teetering back and forth in the first half between the teams catching fire in spurts as exemplified by the Lakers beginning the game on a 7-0 run and the Warriors responding with a 15-0 run of themselves.

The Warriors led most of the third quarter, which was the least productive quarter with both teams combining for a total of 24 points.

Los Angeles for the game shot 41.2 percent from the field and held Golden State to only 39.8 percent shooting.

Nick Young in 19 minutes of action scored all of his 17 points in the first half on 4 of 8 shooting to go along with 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Chris Kaman posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes. Jordan Farmar tallied 12 points and dished out seven assists in 27 minutes.

Klay Thompson lead Golden State with 26 points. The Warriors major offseason acquisition Andre Iguodala had 15 points, David Lee scored 10 points, and Stephen Curry poured in five points and two assists in 14 minutes on the floor.

Saturday’s game did not feature Kobe Bryant (Achilles), Steve Nash (Leg)  and Pau Gasol (Knees). Nash and Gasol are expected to play in Sunday night’s game at Staples Center against the Denver Nuggets. Bryant still does not have a timetable for his return.

Photo Credit: RockChalkBlog.com

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.