Lakers ready to welcome Kobe Bryant back with open arms

Afternoon reading …

SAN ANTONIO — The Lakers said they don’t expect a significant adjustment period when superstar guard Kobe Bryant returns to their starting lineup Friday against the San Antonio Spurs, although it took them several games to learn to play well without him and it might take time for them to learn to play with him again.

The Lakers were 5-2 with Bryant sat out with an injured left shin.

“It will be good to have him back because we need to get used to playing the way we play with him, and we play at our best with him in the lineup,” power forward Pau Gasol said after scoring 22 points and adding 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the Lakers’ victory Wednesday over the undersized and inexperienced Golden State Warriors.

“I can’t wait to have Kobe back,” World Peace said. “I just can’t wait. I’ll be so happy to have him back and get him back in shape. I came here to play with Kobe. I know what type of player Kobe is, and I want to win some rings.

“That’s why I came to Los Angeles.”

World Peace was a member of the Lakers’ 2009-10 championship team, when he was known as Ron Artest. He changed his name last summer.

“We’ve been playing well (without Bryant),” World Peace said. “We’ve just been finding out a lot of things about ourselves. I had to do this when I was in Sacramento with Kevin Martin and John Salmons. I had to sit out some games. I was scoring a lot, but I didn’t see what other guys could do and I wasn’t giving other guys the opportunity. then I realized that these guys would really play and then that grew confidence in guys.

“It’s the same situation. Kobe is seeing something.”