Just when it appeared they could give Kobe Bryant some peace of mind as he heals from a sprained left ankle, the Lakers allowed other problems to emerge. The Lakers' 99-76 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday marked a season low in total offense and a lost opportunity to move ahead in the playoff race. The Lakers (36-33) have a one-game cushion over the Utah Jazz (34-33) for the eighth playoff spot, but that's only because Utah lost Monday to New York. The Lakers didn't just miss Bryant because of his obvious skillset. With his absence and the Lakers playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni highlighted the team's fatigue issues three separate time afterward. But he remained adamant about sticking to a seven-man rotation. "I just wasn't ready to grasp at straws," D'Antoni said. "After it's over with, yeah, you can tell me it's that way. But if we come back and win? I don't know at that point." The Lakers have three days between games to rest those legs before playing Friday against Washington. D'Antoni also said Bryant will "probably" play because the extra time affords him to recover from his sprained left ankle that's kept him sidelined for the past two games. Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who has missed 20 games with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, will receive an ultrasound today to give him better clarity whether he can return against Washington, too.
Weary L.A., minus Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, gets scorched in Phoenix
L.A. Daily News | Mar 19