Kobe Bryant is in Germany (he was going to get around to telling Mike D’Antoni he was going but it slipped his mind). Pau Gasol and Steve Nash were watching in suits. So the Lakers had to turn to some of the guys fighting to make the team/get minutes to step up against Golden State in a preseason game Saturday night.
They got Xavier Henry, who dropped 29 points on the night. Henry is battling Nick Young and Wes Johnson to try to get minutes on the wing (particularly once Kobe returns and really soaks up minutes in that space). This helped Henry, but he’s going to need to be a lot more consistent with these kinds of efforts to win everyone over — he’s a career 29 percent shooter from three and 62 percent overall (in this game he was 9-of-15 from the field and 2-of-4 from three).
Still, nice buzzer beater. The Lakers won 104-95 and got 17 from Young. Golden State was led by Klay Thompson’s 26 but the better news was that Andrew Bogut looked good and moved pretty well.
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverleyin his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim