His final game against a former heated Western Conference foe (Sacramento Kings) does not quite match the nostalgia over Kobe Bryant matching up with LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. It also does not help that Bryant’s right shoulder has remained sore.
Lakers coach Byron Scott still chalked up Bryant’s status to “50-50” when the Lakers (14-53) host the Sacramento Kings (25-40) on Tuesday at Staples Center. But Lakers forward Metta World Peace said shortly afterwards he was informed he would start in place of Bryant. This will mark World Peace’s first start this season at Staples Center after starting in three other road games.
“I don’t know if it’s better or worse,” Scott said of Bryant’s shoulder. “It’s about the same.”
Scott also considered Lakers forward Brandon Bass doubtful after suffering a corneal abrasion in his right eye during Sunday’s loss to New York. If Bass cannot play, Scott said he would increase minutes for reserve forward Tarik Black and reserve center Robert Sacre. But plenty of the focus obviously centers on Bryant, who has 14 games left in his 20th and final NBA season. Nine of those 14 games will take place at Staples Center.
Bryant has missed four of six games in the past month because of his shoulder injury. He then returned this week for games against Cleveland and New York. Bryant has averaged 16.8 points on a career-low 35.6 percent clip.
Meanwhile, World Peace has averaged 4.4 points on a 28.8 percent clip in 16.6 minutes through 25 appearances. In the three games World Peace has started this season, he has averaged 11.7 points on 65.5 percent shooting in 23.3 minutes per game.