When the Clippers lost on Tuesday night the Lakers clinched the third seed in the Western Conference post-season standings. It also made tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings irrelevant.
Since the Lakers are locked into their playoff position, head coach Mike Brown is considering resting most of his starters to make sure they’re prepared for the post-season – which begins this Sunday.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, Brown is contemplating resting his starters, besides Kobe Bryant, when the team visits Sacramento on Thursday night.
“We’ll probably rest guys, but it won’t just be me saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to sit you down,’ ” Lakers coach Mike Brown said after practice on Wednesday. “I give guys some ownership in this.”
Brown has been criticized throughout the season for over-playing some of his starters, and the heavy minutes they’ve logged could be problematic once the playoffs begin.
The main goal of Thursday’s game is for the Lakers, who are already beaten up, to be as healthy as possible heading into the playoffs. Metta World Peace will already be sitting the game out due to a suspension, while Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks will also be resting minor injuries.
This leaves Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, two main contributors on both ends of the floor. So far this season both have managed to avoid serious injury, but have played a lot of minutes. If given the opportunity, both should take the opportunity to get a little extra rest heading into the playoffs.
One player who most certainly won’t be resting is Bryant, who is gunning for his third NBA scoring title.
“I’m not on vacation,” Bryant said. “If I’m healthy, I play.”
The Lakers will finish the regular season Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings. The game starts at 7:30.