TV: League Pass
- Kobe Bryant will not play tonight when the Lakers host the Kings at Staples Center, the team announced about 45 minutes before the game. Bryant, the league’s third-leading scorer at 27.1, has a severely sprained left ankle and has also been battling the flu. He suffered the injury late in Wednesday’s loss in Atlanta and played just the first quarter of Friday win in Indiana. Bryant was originally listed as a game-time decision but decided not to test the ankle because it was too sore and stiff.
- Sacramento will be without its leading scorer and rebounder, center DeMarcus Cousins, who has a left quad contusion that kept him out of Wednesday’s 42-point victory against the visiting Bulls. Cousins, who averages 17 points and 10 rebounds, also missed Sacramento’s last game against the Lakers at Staples Center because he was suspended two games for confronting a San Antonio TV analyst in a hostile manner.
- The Lakers can breathe a little easier with Bryant’s injury because center Dwight Howard is playing so well lately. In the 13 games since the All-Star break, Howard has pulled down at least 12 rebounds, the second-longest streak of his career. His career-best is 14 straight games with 12 or more rebounds during the 2010-11 season. The only other NBA player to grab at least 12 rebounds in 10 or more consecutive games this season was Anderson Varejao of Cleveland, who hit that mark in 12 straight.
- Sacramento has scored at least 100 points in 14 of the last 16 games. In the previous three games, the Kings are averaging 118.3 points. If they can hit triple digits again tonight, that could spell trouble for the Lakers, who are 10-24 this season when the opposition scores 100 points or more.