LAS VEGAS — After sitting out the last preseason game out of fatigue concerns, Lakers forward Pau Gasol will play tonight against the Sacramento Kings here at Thomas & Mack Center.
Gasol better hope he feels rested enough after missing the Lakers’ 114-80 preseason loss Tuesday to the Utah Jazz at Honda Center. Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he plans to start shrinking the bench rotation for the team’s three remaining preseason games after tonight, including Sunday (Sacramento at Staples Center), Oct. 24 (Clippers at Staples Center) and Oct. 25 (Sacramento in San Diego).
“I’ll put a little pressure on our guys the last three games because I’ll probably play our starters their normal minutes,” Brown said. “They’ll start, come back and then start the second quarter and will end the game. Let’s see if we can get a win.”
For now, however, Brown hardly cares about the team’s 0-4 preseason record. He’s used that time fielding endless bench combinations featuring some who may not even make the final roster. Brown has limited playing time to all of his starters, including Kobe Bryant (24.3 minutes in three games), Steve Nash (18.8), Metta World Peace (25) and Gasol (25.3). And Brown has expressed little concern on whether Dwight Howard fully rehabs his surgically repaired back in time to appear in a preseason game.
Brown said he will continue that approach tonight against Sacramento.
He plans to give Andrew Goudelock the majority of minutes at the backup point guard spot, while giving most minutes at the backup shooting guard spot to training camp invitee Chris Douglas-Roberts. And Brown plans to play his veteran starters only briefly in the second half.
“This was my plan the whole time,” Brown said. “The last three or four games, I would play my guys normal minutes.”
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