ONTARIO — Below are five things to take from the Lakers’ 104-95 preseason win to the Golden State Warriors Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena:
1. Steve Nash & Pau Gasol were MIA. Both sat out so they could rest their legs for the Lakers’ preseason game Sunday against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. That left the fine people of Ontario without seeing any of the Lakers’ stars, including Kobe Bryant, who remains sidelined because of his left Achilles tendon. No worries, they still witnessed the Lakers snapping their 10-game preseason losing streak that traces back through the Mike Brown era with a lockout-shortened season and the Princeton offense. The Lakers last won a preseason game Oct. 22, 2010 when Brian Shaw filled in for Phil Jackson and coached the Lakers to a win against the Warriors in this same venue. My, how much things have changed since then.
2. Xavier Henry had the highlight of the night. The 12th pick of the 2010 NBA draft remains eager to prove he’s not a bust that’s just been plagued by injuries. His preseason debut (a team-leading 29 points on 9 of 15 shooting) with the Lakers showed lots of hustle and versatility. But the lasting impression will involve Henry’s successful 44-foot half-court shot just before halftime as well as his inbounds pass to Elias Harris for a dunk.
3. Nick Young shows he’s a perfect fit. Even though he’s not fully recovered from a sprained right ankle, that didn’t prevent Young from showing what he does best. Score. A lot. And at a very rapid rate. Young fulfilled that job description in a variety of ways. He dropped a 17 points, including 14 in the second quarter. He performed a nifty cross-over past Warriors forward Harrison Barnes. Young made step-back fadeaways. This shouldn’t be surprising, but Young’s ability to create on his own should go a long way in somewhat mitigating any possible Bryant absence or limitation later down the road.
4. Chris Kaman shows off his mid-range game, but could improve his ball handling. He showed a decent touch both around the basket en route on a variety of jumpers and hooks. But Kaman had issues holding onto the ball and making effective passes. This seems easily correctible, but it stunted the Lakers’ ball movement and exposed them on transition defense.
5. Lakers effort is there, but it’s effective in spurts.Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake ran a heavy dose of pick-and-roll. The Lakers communicated on defense. Robert Sacre showed some signs of an expanded mid-range game. But for all the effort the Lakers showed, they source it with various lapses. The Warriors scored 15 unanswered first-quarter points. The Lakers committed 19 turnovers. Wesley Johnson mixed between playing tentatively and trying too hard. The Lakers have the effort, but their execution needs more work.
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