Los Angeles Lakers claim center Tarik Black from Houston, waive injured guard Xavier Henry

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers claimed center Tarik Black off waivers from the Houston Rockets on Sunday, waiving injured guard Xavier Henry to make room on their roster.

Lakers coach Byron Scott hopes the tough-nosed, cerebral rookie can contribute immediately to the Lakers, whose big men have struggled this season.

"The one thing I don't think we have that we would love to have is more athleticism (and) toughness," Scott said before the Lakers' game against Phoenix. "From what I've heard, he's very active on the defensive end, great communicator on the defensive end, and those are two things that we need from our bigs. We'll see how he translates that from Houston to here."

Scott said Black is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Monday for a physical, hopefully joining the team for its game in Denver on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-11 Black started 12 of his 25 games this season for Houston, filling in capably for injured Dwight Howard. Black averaged 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while making 54.2 percent of his shots with the Rockets, who were forced to waive him Friday when they signed Josh Smith.

Black spent his final college season at Kansas after playing three seasons at Memphis in his hometown. He went undrafted, but won a roster spot with a strong performance in summer league play and training camp.

Henry tore his left Achilles tendon in practice Nov. 24, ending his second season with Los Angeles after just 86 minutes over nine games. He has showed promise while appearing in 52 games for the Lakers, but has been dogged by injuries throughout his tenure.

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