Kobe Bryant said he intends to play in tonight's exhibition against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center after sitting out Wednesday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Ontario because of a strained right shoulder.

Dwight Howard won't play for the third consecutive exhibition as the Lakers continue to take it slow and easy with him after he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back last April.

Bryant and Howard have zero to gain by playing tonight. The third of the Lakers' eight exhibition games this month looms as little more than vigorous exercise for two established players, who have nothing to prove to anyone.

It's different for Robert Sacre, a 7-foot center from Gonzaga and the last man selected in the NBA draft in June. He's playing for a job, first and foremost, as Howard's backup once the regular season begins for the Lakers on Oct.30.

In two exhibitions, the longest of long shots has displayed a nice touch on his hook shots around the basket and proved to be a determined worker as Howard's replacement. He's averaging seven points and 2.5 rebounds in two games.