A Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers team stunned NBA fans on Tuesday night (Dec. 23), when they pulled off one of the season’s biggest upsets… with a 115-105 victory over the league-leading Golden State Warriors.
The evening saw seven Lakers players finish in double figures, led by Carlos Boozer, who scored 18 points in his new role off the bench.
Kobe Bryant sat out for the first time this season to rest his tired legs — a decision was made by coach Byron Scott, who had been hinting at it over the past week. “Looking at our schedule coming up, I just thought it was a good time to give him a day of rest and let him prepare for the next game,” Scott said. “Kobe told me last night, anyway, ‘Coach, whatever you want me to do. Just let me know.’ So he’s on board with it.”
Shooting guard Wayne Ellington made his first start for the Lakers in Bryant’s place and scored 12 points in 25 minutes, while Ronnie Price added 17 points, going 3-7 from downtown, and Nick Young added 15 points off the bench with two three-pointers as well.
“I think this is something that has to happen periodically,” Scott said. “You’ve got to remember — this is 19 years in this league. That’s an unbelievable career. I don’t care how much his mind is willing. You’re not going to be able to play 82 games at the level that he is accustomed to playing. So sometimes, you have to give him days off as well as games off.”
The Warriors fell to 23-4, maintaining the best record in the league, while the Lakers earned their ninth win, but still sit near the bottom of the Western Conference.