Ellington's father, Wayne Ellington Sr., 57, was fatally shot in Philadelphia, and his son took an 11-day absence from the team.
Signed by the Lakers shortly before training camp in September, Ellington made the opening-night roster with a non-guaranteed contract.
"The past six months have been a journey for me," Ellington said. "Life has taken me on some crazy paths, some crazy obstacles."
The 6-foot-4 Ellington has been a important rotation player for the Lakers. Before Tuesday's game, he had averaged 6.4 points and 16.7 minutes in 20 games.
Ellington played 25 minutes against the Golden State Warriors and finished with 12 points.
It was Ellington's first start this season. Ellington said that during Tuesday morning's shoot-around, he'd gotten an indication from Coach Byron Scott that he might fill in for Bryant.
"I think [Scott] trusts me, and he understands I'm going to give it my all," Ellington said. "Nobody can replace Kobe. I'm just going to play my game to the best of my ability."
Asked why he tapped Ellington to replace Bryant, Scott replied: "Just that he's a professional and he knows how to play, doesn't make a lot of mistakes out there, he's going to play on both ends, he's going to play hard."
Scott's comments "mean a lot," Ellington said. "When your head coach has that kind of trust for you, it builds your confidence and makes you play better."
Although Bryant is far and away the Lakers' leading scorer this season, he's far from the most accurate.
That honor would go to forward Ed Davis.
Davis' field-goal percentage before Tuesday's game was 63.2%, with the 25-year-old forward averaging 3.1 field goals and 4.9 attempts per game.
Davis was on the mark again against the Warriors, shooting seven for seven.
Bryant was well down on the team's accuracy list at 37.2%, several points below his 45.2% career average.
But Bryant also was averaging 22.4 field-goal attempts per game, more than double the shooting by his teammate second on the list, Carlos Boozer, who had an average 11.1 attempts before Tuesday.