While the doom and gloom of the town's only professional team leaving has somewhat subsided with the Kings promising to stay next season, it still lingers until a deal is signed and a new arena is constructed.
The Lakers are in quite a different mix.
Phil Jackson is gone, and Brown is ready for his first playoff run as Los Angeles' coach. With a roster recovering from injuries and Metta World Peace serving the first of his seven-game suspension for elbowing Thunder guard James Harden in the head, nobody quite knows what to expect in the postseason from this Lakers lineup.
"You want to be as healthy as possible at this point, especially going into the postseason," Brown said. "Our guys are in the right spot health-wise, and hopefully we'll be able to go into this thing with some energy on top of the health and let nobody outwork us."
The second string the Lakers sent out in Sacramento had no chance.
Sacramento led 35-21 in the final seconds of the first quarter until Ramon Sessions — the only regular Lakers starter in the lineup — swished a 3-pointer in front of a charging Jimmer Fredette. The Kings built a 56-39 lead in the second quarter, and the rest was a formality.
And exactly why Bryant decided to rest.
Bryant, who missed seven games with a bruised left shin before playing the previous two, averaged 27.9 points per game while playing 58 games this season. Durant played all 66 contests, capping the regular season with 32 points in a loss against Denver a night earlier that forced Bryant to respond big in Sacramento.
Already an NBA MVP, two-time scoring champion and winner of five NBA titles, Bryant has bigger goals to chase at age 33.
That time starts Sunday.
NOTES: Lakers F Matt Barnes (sprained right ankle) also sat out. Brown said he wasn't sure Barnes would play Sunday. ... Kings veteran John Salmons missed his 15th straight game with sore hip.
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