Lakers beat Sixers, 93-84, without Kobe Bryant

first_imgAny New Year’s resolution Kobe Bryant may have made to stay healthy already vanished. Bryant missed the Lakers’ 93-84 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at Staples Center because of soreness in his surgically repaired right shoulder. Bryant had reported feeling increased soreness after Wednesday’s win in Boston, where he sat on the bench frequently wearing ice on his right shoulder. Bryant had also conceded he and the Lakers’ training staff “got to be a little bit more aggressive” with his ongoing treatment. But the Lakers had not listed Bryant on their latest injury report until Friday afternoon. Lakers coach Byron Scott said he will monitor Bryant’s health “game-by-game,” making his availability unknown for when the Lakers (7-27) host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at Staples Center. But has the Lakers’ training staff suggested Bryant’s latest injury could be a long-term issue after needing surgery on his shoulder last January? “Throw a parade, man,” Scott joked.But this game only brought intrigue because the outcome could affect the odds for both teams in the NBA Draft lottery in May. With the NBA’s second-worst record behind Philadelphia (3-32), the Lakers (7-27) have a 55.8 percent chance to keep their top-3 protected draft pick. Otherwise, the Lakers owe to the Sixers as part of the Steve Nash trade. The other subplots: Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. posted eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds after nursing what Scott called a “tender” right ankle. “The ankle is all good. I’ll be fine,” Nance Jr. said. “I was flying around tonight. Adrenaline is a powerful thing.”Randle posted a solid effort amid his quest to regain his starting spot. Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell finished with only six points on 3-of-14 shooting, but one of his five assists included throwing a touch pass behind his back to set up Randle for a dunk.“He was thinking about getting on ESPN with one of the top plays,” Scott said, chuckling. “I thought it was pretty cool.”Beforehand, Scott resisted making any lineup changes after liking the team’s chemistry in Wednesday’s win over Boston. “I loved our energy and effort,” Scott said. “I want to see if that same group can duplicate that for a couple games. Then I’ll think about tweaking the starting lineup and rotations.”The only tweak involved seldom-used rookie forward Anthony Brown starting in Bryant’s place and posting five points on 2-of-3 shooting and five rebounds in 22 minutes. But that will change soon if Bryant becomes healthier, an issue Scott believed will not require him to become cautious.“He’s always been honest with me,” Scott said of Bryant. “When he feels good, he tells me. When he doesn’t feel good, he tells me as well.” “They haven’t as of yet,” Scott said. “I take that as it’s nothing to worry about right now.”Scott also maintained he has not become worried about playing the 37-year-old Bryant an average of 30.4 minutes per game in his 20th and final NBA season. “I don’t attribute this to the minutes he played,” Scott said. “I attribute it more to the 20 plays he’s playing.”If only the rest of the Lakers could have joined Bryant and skipped Friday’s game. Although the Lakers received double-digit efforts from Lou Williams (24 points), Jordan Clarkson (19) and Julius Randle (15), they shot 37.9 percent from the field. The Sixers shot slightly worse at a 36.9 percent clip. The game only became mildly interesting when the Lakers secured their first winning streak of the season after going on a 12-2 run midway through the fourth quarter for an 86-72 lead with 5:13 remaining. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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