Kobe Bryant practices at the Los Angeles Lakers facility under the watchful eyes of General Manager Mitch Kupchak on December 7, 2013 (Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed)
On a rainy Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers met at their practice facility for one more session before Kobe Bryant officially makes his comeback on Sunday.
Friday was a busy day for the Lakers. After completing morning shootaround in Sacramento, the Lakers took to social media to announce the return of Bryant on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors. However, the Lakers still had a game to play on Friday night, and a road game at Sacramento still offered challenges. A strong defensive stand late in the game resulted in a win, and the Bryant-less Lakers flew back to LA late Friday night with a 10-9 record.
On Saturday, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni talked about how Bryant would be integrated into the team. As expected, Jodie Meeks would go to the bench. D’Antoni also said that Sacre would remain in the starting lineup.
“[Bryant is] totally well and ready to go,” D’Antoni said on Saturday. “I think he’ll be limited by his wind and ability to take the pounding.”
D’Antoni said he would be “surprised” if Bryant’s minutes totaled higher than the 20s.
“[Bryant is] a big piece. You throw that boulder in the water, there’s going to be some ripples,” D’Antoni said. “People have to adjust to it and some people’s minutes will be adjusted.”
Steve Nash was also at practice, but he was still considered extremely doubtful to play on Sunday.
D’Antoni also confirmed that Robert Sacre would hold onto his starting spot. Sacre made his first start of the season against Sacramento and played well in limited minutes.
“I think it was important for me to be just ready,” Sacre said on Saturday. “I knew my time was going to come, so I just capitalized on it.”
On Sunday, he’s back.