Lakers Get Preseason Win Without Kobe

Kobe Bryant wore a black argyle sweater, sat on the bench and had front row seats for the Lakers preseason game Thursday, taking a night off two days after hyperextending his knee.

What he got to see was a sloppy 88-77 victory for the Lakers over the Charlotte Bobcats at the Honda Center in Anaheim, a game that saw 45 turnovers between the two teams. The Lakers shot just 42.3% for the night and were only five of 19 from behind the arc.

As it has been for the last few games, the Lakers starters played limited minutes  but got the team off to an early lead. This time they did it with defense, showing a little zone (rare for a Phil Jackson coached squad) and using their two seven footers to block the Bobcats penetration and turn them into jump shooters.

But, as it has been for several games, it was the Lakers bench that got the team the win. Jordan Farmar had 12 points off the bench with Luke Walton adding 10. The other key part of the Lakers bench mob, Lamar Odom, added nine points and six boards playing some of his best ball of the preseason in the second half. Odom had very good open court plays on consecutive breaks in the fourth quarter — first a pass to DJ Mbenga for a dunk, the next to a finish by LO himself.

Pau Gasol was the high scorer for the Lakers with 13 points. Trevor Ariza started in Kobe’s spot at the shooting guard and played 26 minutes and scored six points.

While Kobe sat, he said this was something he could have played through if it was the regular season.

“I feel fine,” Bryant said. “I lifted weights this morning for my legs, I did lunges and jumps and all kinds of stuff. I'm all right. I just want to get the swelling out. Right now it feels okay, it’s just a little puffy in the back. I want to get it out. Playing on it tonight, and having the swelling be there and having to manage it, that's the kind of stuff you do during the regular season, not in preseason.”

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