The Los Angeles Lakers (9-39) take on the Los Angeles Clippers (30-16) on Friday night at Staples Center, but Kobe Bryant will not take part, as the 37-year-old sits out the second night of a back-to-back.
Bryant looked visibly aggitated as his team fell victim to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, eventually losing by a final count of 114-91. Bryant only played 25 minutes and scored 10 points in the defeat, and the absence of travel from Thursday night to Friday night should have put no. 24 in line to play, but the Lakers coach Byron Scott should not be faulted for taking a conservative approach.
As Bryant confirmed on Thursday night, the goal is to finish the full NBA season, which amounts to 33 more games after Friday night. In total, Friday night will be the 10th games Bryant will miss during the 2015-16 NBA season, which is his final year.
In Bryant's absence, Scott refused to reveal his starting lineup. Starting guard Lou Williams missed Thursday's game with an upper-respiratory infection, and Scott opted to by coy with Williams' replacement on Thursday night, as well. Eventually, the coach went with rookie Anthony Brown and shifted Bryant down to shooting guard.
Williams' involvement has yet to be determined, but if the veteran can shake off the illness, he should return to the starting lineup with Brown retaining his spot, as well. However, if Williams cannot go, Scott would likely push rookie D'Angelo Russell into the starting lineup, though the highly touted rookie had a forgettable three-point, four-assist and three-turnover outing against the Bulls.
Another option would be to start point guard Marcelo Huertas, though that would light the frustrations of the fan base ablaze, as the purple and gold faithful have been begging for 19-year-old Russell to get more time on the court.
The Clippers, of course, will be without their own star in Blake Griffin, as the forward recovers from an off-the-court fight that left him with an injured hand.
The Lakers and Clippers tip-off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.