The Lakers announced shortly before Wednesday night’s NBA Preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers that Kobe Bryant would not play due to a strained shoulder. The team said Bryant would have been able to play if it were a regular season game. We told you earlier on Wednesday that Mountaineer Devin Ebanks is Bryant’s primary backup at shooting guard.
The first inclination when a person hears that a starter will miss time is to think the backup will start in his place. In this case, one would think Ebanks would get the start. Jodie Meeks started in Bryant’s place instead. Why? Meeks plays behind Ebanks. By starting Meeks instead of Ebanks, Lakers’ head coach Mike Brown kept the rotation the same. It’s important during the Preseason for the second team to gel together which meant on Wednesday night keeping Ebanks as the reserve SG.
With Bryant out, and new acquisition Dwight Howard out with a back injury, the Lakers were undermanned, and the younger Trail Blazers team pulled ahead during the second half to win 93-75.
Ebanks came off the bench in the first half with some of the starters still in the game. Ebanks led the Lakers’ bench with 10 points and pulled down 4 rebounds and a steal in the game. He showed some of the work he put in over the summer by hitting a three-pointer from the corner during the first half. He did not make a three-pointer all of last season.
The Lakers have six games left in the Preseason.