The loss of Kobe Bryant is starting to be felt by the Los Angeles Lakers not only in the win-loss column, but also in the team’s ability to attract a national audience. As one of the few teams in the NBA that gets many nationally televised games on an annual basis, the franchise is use to massive exposure on a national level every single season regardless of the players on the team.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, this season is a special circumstance with Bryant only playing six games thus far and Dwight Howard signing with the Houston Rockets in the off-season.
Ironically enough, the first Lakers game to be flexed this season is a rematch with Howard’s Rockets on Jan. 8.
According to ESPN’s Arash Markazi via Twitter:
The Lakers-Rockets game time on Jan. 8 will be changed to 7pm local time and will no longer be televised by ESPN.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 27, 2013
Despite the fact that the last meeting between the Lakers and Rockets was highly entertaining and ended with a game-winning shot by Steve Blake over Howard in Houston, ESPN has decided the Phoenix Suns facing the Minnesota Timberwolves is the more attractive game for their viewers on Jan. 8. With Bryant out six weeks and potentially unable to return until February or March, the first showdown between Bryant and Howard might not take place until Feb. 19 or possibly April 8. Both games will be played in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.
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