Kobe Bryant Sits As Lakers Lose in Phoenix

Lakers star shooting guard Kobe Bryant sat out of the Lakers’ 125-105 loss versus the Phoenix Suns Saturday evening with a shin injury.

With about 15 minutes left till game-time, after receiving a massage and having kinesio tape applied to his shin, Bryant and trainer Gary Vitti decided it would be best for him to sit out.

“It’s very painful,” Vitti said. “He’s been playing with this and it’s not getting any better. Really the only way to stop it is to shut him down.”

The Lakers felt Bryant’s absence.

They suffered their worst defeat of the year, losing to a team that Kobe traditionally torches.

But Phoenix did all the torching on this night, with guard Michael Redd scoring 17 points in the second quarter and former Laker-turned-Sun guard Shannon Brown scoring 20 points in the third quarter to take the lead and then put the Lakers away for good.

Brown finished with 24 points and 5 rebounds for the game, while Redd finished with 23 points.

“We did a great job of playing up tempo, but not overdoing it, and taking good shots,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said after the game.

The Suns had only three turnovers, which according to NBA.com is the lowest total ever in a single game in franchise history.

The Lakers’ bigs had good games statistically, but it was never really close after the Suns’ third quarter run.

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol finished with a season-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, and center Andrew Bynum finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds, but shot only 10-27 from the field.

The Lakers look to rebound from their two-game skid on Monday when they take on the Hornets on the road, while Phoenix looks to pick up another win Monday when they take on Minnesota on the road.