ONTARIO, Calif.--With Kobe Bryant in Germany and Pau Gasol and Steve Nash on the bench, the Los Angeles Lakers turned to a collection of newcomers to pull out their first exhibition victory in three seasons. The Lakers defeated Golden State, 104-95, at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Xavier Henry, a fourth-year guard from Kansas, provided the Lakers with his own set of highlight footage with 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
"I worked hard and found a team that I love to play with and that has guys, who are unselfish and the coaching staff that believes in me," Henry said. "When you have those two things anything can happen."
Anything, and nearly everything. Henry was 9 of 11 from the line and also had seven rebounds. His biggest shot, though, came at the end of the first half.
Henry buried a 3-point shot at the buzzer from beyond the half-court line to put the Lakers ahead at halftime, 60-57. He missed another long-range shot in the third quarter, but came up a timely 3-pointer to tie the game at 81 with 7:11 left.
Forward Nick Young added 17 points, while Jordan Farmar added 12 points and seven assists and Chris Kaman had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"It doesn't have to be the Steve Nashes and the Paus because everyone here is the same," he said. "We all can play."
Seat with a view
Jim Buss, executive vice president in charge of basketball operations, watched the Lakers' end their exhibition futility from a courtside seat across from the Lakers bench. The victory ended a streak of 10 exhibition losses, dating to 2011.
The Lakers lost both exhibition contests to the Clippers in the lockout-shortened season and all eight last season under former coach Mike Brown.
Not ready yet
Rookie Ryan Kelly would like to be in the place of any of the Lakers players who were dressed and ready to play.
But the 6-foot-11 forward from Duke sat on the bench in street clothes knowing he must be patient a little while longer as he continues to recover from having surgery on his foot. Kelly recently began joining the rest of the team for full workouts and engaging a few one-on-ones with assistant Mark Madsen.
"He got me today a little bit. In the post, he's tough to deal with," Kelly said before Saturday's game.
Kelly said his foot is 100 percent; it's the rest of his body that now needs work.
"I haven't played basketball in a long time, and I want to put myself in position to play well," he said. There's a reason the Lakers drafted me and I know the reasons and I want to go out there and do them."
Kelly acknowledged to being frustrated with the delay in making his NBA debut. He said he wanted to come into camp "being in the best shape of my life but I haven't had that opportunity."
He is looking for that opportunity before the Lakers open the regular season Oct. 29, but won't push it if either his foot or conditioning isn't ready.
"I want to play when I'm physically ready to play basketball. The worst thing you can do is try to come back and not be at a high level."
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