As Lakers struggle, Robert Sacre leads fewer bench celebrations

Reserve center tries to maintain energy level for the team despite disappointing season

SACRAMENTO — The end of the Lakers' bench is a lot quieter these days.

Reserve center Robert Sacre, the happy face of the franchise, tries not to get down. It's not in his nature.

But there have been fewer of the celebrations that made him a YouTube sensation among Lakers fans.

It's an equation that makes sense: Fewer dunks + fewer victories = less sideline fun for Sacre, the Lakers' leading towel-twirler since selected with the 60th and last pick in the 2012 draft.

"We all come from winning backgrounds, whether it's from college or winning championships on a different team," he said. "We've all been in winning situations, so I think it is frustrating."

The Lakers (8-19) lost another game Sunday in Sacramento, 108-101. Sacre had three points and four rebounds in 13 minutes.

He's not getting as much time on the court as he did under Coach Mike D'Antoni, who was a huge fan of Sacre's defense.

His numbers have taken a drop (4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds a game), but he likes what he's accomplishing energy-wise.

"We're not getting the outcomes we want, but at the same time, I'm really happy with how I've been playing," he said. "I know what my role is, to bring energy off the bench and make sure that there's no let-downs."

The big question for him will come after this season. The Lakers hold a team option on Sacre for $981,000. In a league where the average salary is $5.3 million, he'll probably be back next season.

"I guess. Everyone says that," he said. "I'm really just focusing on this moment in time and letting everything else happen. I enjoy my job and I enjoy what I do. I'm fortunate to be here, and I might as well embrace what I have."

Turnover time

The Lakers entered Sunday with the NBA's second-fewest turnovers, a mere 11.9 per game representing a solid improvement from the 14.8 they averaged last season.

It also represented one of the few categories where they were among the league leaders.

But they fumbled and stumbled against Sacramento, committing 17 turnovers.

Kobe Bryant had five in the first half and finished with nine.

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan

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