Austin Reaves Shoots Ball

Lakers' Offense Continues to Soar Despite Preseason Loss to Warriors

The threes were falling, the celebrations were out, and the Lakers continued to flaunt a sizzling offense in their return to Arena five months after their prior season ended in the Western Conference Finals. 

While visiting Golden State came away with a 129-125 preseason victory, the Lakers controlled the majority of the starters’ minutes and took a seven-point lead into halftime. From there, both teams began emptying their benches. In fact, LeBron James even changed into street clothes at half, with his fellow starters joining him on the bench shortly thereafter.

James and co. were in top gear in that first half, scoring 70 points by intermission on 54.8% shooting with 10 3-pointers — despite missing Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish due to various ailments. Head coach Darvin Ham highlighted that the team had 18 assists on 23 baskets at the half. 

Part of this success could, of course, be traced back to LeBron, who was effective in his 18 minutes of action, flashing his jumper and kickout passing en route to 12 points and five assists.  

However, it was newcomer Taurean Prince who stepped into the spotlight, scoring a team-best 17 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point distance, plus a sweet steal into a Eurostep layup. The eight-year veteran has been shooting with confidence over his last two games, both of which he started. 

Afterward, Prince’s coach praised him for his versatility.

“He’s a pro’s pro,” Ham said. “Strong. He’s the quintessential 3 and D guy. … [He’s] a guy who doesn’t have to force anything.”

All five Lakers starters scored in double figures. Austin Reaves was his usual efficient-yet-flashy self, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting while mixing in a left-handed and-1 circus shot and a two-handed slam. 

Anthony Davis was part of the team’s great ball movement, providing 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. And D’Angelo Russell continued his fiery start to the preseason with 12 points and six assists. 

Meanwhile, Christian Wood added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench in only 13 minutes — giving fans a tase of his microwave scoring potential by hitting a few jumpers to complement his more traditional big-man moves down low. 

A Long Beach native and childhood Lakers fan, Wood found special feeling in playing in front of the team’s home crowd for the first time. 

“It was amazing,” Wood said. “My mom was here and my son was here. It felt great just to be out there.” 

However, the Warriors were able to spoil the Lakers’ return to their home arena by outscoring their hosts by 11 over the second half. Jonathan Kuminga was in high-flier mode for the visitors, scoring 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. A lineup of Lakers rookies went back-and-forth with the Warriors in the final minutes, but Kuminga was able to lead his team to victory in that final stretch.