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- News broke early in the day that future Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant will not play tonight and instead rest up for the playoffs. Bryant needed 38 points tonight against the Kings to beat out All-Star Kevin Durant for the NBA’s scoring title. “There was no question in his mind, not one time did he hint to me that he was going to play,” coach Brown said of Kobe before the game. “I know there was a lot of speculation, a lot of hype about it and all that stuff, that’s just who he is. A lot of people where wrong with it. He just thinks it’s best for him and best for the team.”
- The Lakers have already locked up the Pacific Division title and the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs, so it comes as no surprise that Bryant is not the only Laker taking the night off tonight in Sacramento. Coach Mike Brown announced today at shootaround that Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will join Kobe on the bench and that he will go with a starting lineup of Steve Blake, Ramon Sessions, Josh McRoberts, Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks, if he is healthy. If Ebanks cannot go, expect Christian Eyenga to get the call.
- Marcus Thornton, the Kings leading scorer on the season, will miss the season finale with a bruised left quad. Thornton joins John Salmons and Hassan Whiteside on the injured list and will be replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Travis Outlaw. After missing Tuesday night’s game with an undisclosed illness, Terrence Williams returns to action tonight for Sacramento.
- For the first time in his career, coach Keith Smart will get an entire offseason as a head coach to prepare for a season. “I’m excited. I’m excited because I can hit the ground running with ideas,” Smart said during pregame. “Ideas that I know [are] going to help our basketball team.”
- The Kings are currently in a three-way tie at 21-43 for the third worst record in the NBA with New Orleans and Cleveland. The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets are a game ahead of this grouping at 22-43, coming into the final game of the season.
– James Ham