Kobe Bryant injury: Lakers-Rockets game pulled from ESPN broadcast

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant gets shakes hands with Dwyane Wade after their game at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant gets shakes hands with Dwyane Wade after their game at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Apparently, the Lakers squaring up against Dwight Howard in two weeks in Houston isn’t a big enough of a deal for ESPN to broadcast the game.

Not when Kobe Bryant remains out of the lineup. Not when the Lakers also traveled to Houston last month and already beat them courtesy of a Steve Blake game-winning 3-pointer. Not when the Lakers (13-16) rank 12th in the Western Conference. So instead, ESPN will televise the Phoenix-Minnesota game.

“It kind of coincides together. We don’t have Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They’re doing business. You can’t blame him.”

The Lakers expect Bryant to play though Feb. 8 when they host the Rockets at Staples Center. Then, Laker fans will boo Howard incessantly. Regardless of the Lakers’ place in the standings at that point, ESPN will likely showcase that game.

“Our job is to make it to where we’re a good team,” D’Antoni said. “Obviously we haven’t shown that yet. But we’re working at it.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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