After playing just 12 minutes in the Lakers win over the Indiana Pacers and sitting out in last night’s victory against the Sacramento Kings (with a left ankle sprain and flu symptoms), Kevin Ding of the OC Register reports that Kobe Bryant is doubtful for tonight’s game versus the Phoenix Suns.
Kobe (ankle) is considered doubtful for tomorrow at Phoenix, according to Lakers PR. Lakers have three days off after that game.
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 18, 2013
Last night on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, head coach Mike D’Antoni said there’s no pressure for Kobe to return and also hinted at the Lakers upcoming three days off for Kobe to rest.
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D’Antoni on Kobe vs. PHX: “It’s up to him. There’s no pressure on him.”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 18, 2013
The Lakers bench, specifically Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake, have dramatically stepped up in Kobe’s absence. Last night, D’Antoni only played a seven man game, and Blake and Jamison shot for a combined 33 points. Blake added eight assists and Jamison chipped in nine rebounds. Dwight Howard had another double-double and Metta World Peace led the team in scoring with 22 points. When asked about what he’s learned about winning the past two games essentially without Kobe, D’Antoni pinpointed ball movement.
“It’s like anything else. That ball moves, and there are some good guys on the floor. Antawn Jamison has had back-to-back 50-point games in this league. Steve Blake was a starting point with a good team, and has played really well in this league. Steve Nash is a two-time MVP, and Dwight Howard is really good. So we don’t have to be one-player dominant. That ball needs to move, and if it does, then we’re really good.” (Quotes via Time Warner Cable SportsNet)
After tonight, the Lakers will have three days off before the 7:30 p.m tip-off versus Washington Wizards at Staples Center, which means the Black Mamba will be well rested in hopes to return to the starting line-up.
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