Found April 14, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
The lights dimmed down. The starters walked through player introductions. And then moments after the lights turned back on, the Lakers and Nuggets tipped off in what appeared to be an ordinary NBA game. There was one key difference, though. The Lakers didn't have their head coach patrolling the sideline. Mike Brown left before the start of the Lakers' 103-97 victory over Denver on Friday night for what the team called "personal reasons." But his players hardly had much time to react to his sudden departure. "It happened so fast," Lakers forward Metta World Peace said. "We couldn't even focus on it. We had a game to play. It happened right when we were going out there." Good thing the Lakers has apparently developed a backup plan. Assistant coach John Kuester had already taken over head-coaching duties once this season. Brown missed the Lakers' 95-90 loss Feb. 6 at Philadelphia because of a one-game suspension stemming from his ejection two days earlier against Utah. Brown attended Friday's mandatory pregame interview with reporters about 10 minutes late, but offered no outward sign in his answers he wouldn't coach. But the approach remained the same. While Brown often paces the sideline and Kuester prefers to sit in his chair, the player rotations agianst the Nuggets were the same rotations that Brown has favored in recent weeks. "Mike has instituted a system that he knows can be executed with him there or without him there," Kuester said. "He has a staff that believes in everything he does." That staff currently includes Kobe Bryant, who missed his fourth consecutive game because of a sore left shin. Kuester described Bryant as the Lakers' "fifth assistant" and a "calming influence." As he sat between assistants Darvin Ham and Quin Snyder, Bryant often shared instructions with his teammates. The Lakers answered whether the circumstances fazed them with their performance. They absorbed Denver chipping away at double-digit leads. Andrew Bynum fought through enough double teams to score 30 points. Matt Barnes' 24 points came off timely shots, including a 16-foot turnaround jumper before halftime as well as a three-pointer and floating jumper that gave the Lakers a 97-90 lead with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter. The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported Brown is expected to coach Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. But for one game, the Lakers proved they could hold down the fort during his absence. "We just know it's something personal with the family," Barnes said. "So we wish him the best and we tried to get the win for him." --Mark Medina

Brown, Bynum define their terms

Lakers Coach Mike Brown and center Andrew Bynum have had some, uh, entertaining moments in their first season together. Bynum hated it when Brown kissed him on the forehead after a late tip-in during a victory over Boston. Bynum also didn't like being yanked for his well-documented three-point attempt last month against Golden State. But Brown said they were fine. "Are...

Lakers manage without Bryant, Brown in win

LOS ANGELES ---No Kobe Bryant. No Mike Brown. And the Lakers had little trouble with the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Friday night. Brown left Staples Center just before tip-off to handle a personal matter according to Lakers team officials. John Kuester, who was the head coach of the Detroit Pistons last season, stepped in to fill Brown's spot, while Kobe Bryant took...

Kobe 'definitely' returning before playoffs

Kobe Bryant missed his fifth consecutive game Sunday but hinted about his return from a sore left shin, telling ABC sideline reporter Heather Cox he would "definitely" play before the end of the regular season. Bryant spoke briefly to Cox at the Lakers' game against the Dallas Mavericks about his shin, saying he would be back "well before playoffs." The...

Bynum's 30-board game no surprise to Lakers great

Elgin Baylor talks almost wistfully about the craft of rebounding, as if it's artwork that has been misplaced or a treasure trove that can't be retrieved from deep-sea waters. He was a 6-foot-5 forward for the Lakers when he took 30 rebounds in a 1961 game against the Cincinnati Royals. He was watching on TV when Andrew Bynum grabbed an equally striking 30 rebounds Wednesday...

Bynum on upper respiratory infection: 'I can't breathe'

As he ran up and down the court, Andrew Bynum took deep breaths. It had little to do with the normal fatigue that surrounds a typical basketball game. It had everything to do with fighting an upper respiratory infection he suffered the night before the Lakers' 112-108 overtime victory Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks. "It was just hard to breathe," said Bynum, who...

Brown returns to Lakers; Kobe expected to sit out

Mike Brown walked up to Andrew Bynum at the Lakers training facility Saturday, laughing and making the usual post-practice small talk. The mood around the team was significantly lighter one day after the Lakers coach departed Staples Center before a game against the Denver Nuggets to attend to an undisclosed family matter. Brown declined to discuss the reason that prompted him...

Kobe Bryant out for Lakers vs. Mavs

Kobe Bryant is sitting out his fifth straight game to rest his bruised shin. Lakers coach Mike Brown confirmed early Sunday that Bryant will miss just the 100th game of his 16-year NBA career when they host the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA scoring leader hasn't played since April 6 for the Lakers, who began the day leading the Clippers atop the Pacific Division by one game with...

Kobe misses 5th straight game

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant is sitting out his fifth straight game to rest his bruised shin. Lakers coach Mike Brown confirmed early Sunday that Bryant will miss just the 100th game of his 16-year NBA career when they host the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA scoring leader hasn't played since April 6 for the Lakers, who began the day leading the Clippers atop the Pacific Division...

Lakers 103, Nuggets 97

Andrew Bynum had 30 points and eight rebounds, Matt Barnes added a season-high 24 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched a playoff berth without Kobe Bryant or coach Mike Brown, holding off the Denver Nuggets 103-97 Friday night. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacific Division-leading Lakers (38-22), who have won three of four without Bryant. The NBA scoring...

Kobe not needed to clinch playoff spot

The Lakers are in the playoffs. What else is new? With their 103-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, the Lakers clinched a playoff berth -- their 59th such achievement in 64 seasons of the club's existence. That's a successful franchise for you. And another impressive statistic has developed: The Lakers are 3-1 without Kobe Bryant this season. Bryant sat...

Kobe Plans To Return Before Playoffs

Kobe Bryant has missed five straight games with a bruised left shin.

Mavericks-Lakers Preview

After the Dallas Mavericks swept them out of last year's postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers now could return the favor. Possibly doing it without Kobe Bryant might further build their confidence for a potential playoff rematch. While coach Mike Brown is expected to return, Bryant's status remains up in the air as the surging Lakers go for a season sweep of the defending...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.