Without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers' visit to Houston to play Dwight Howard and the Rockets on Jan. 8 just doesn't hold the same national appeal.
On Thursday, the NBA announced that the game will not be aired on ESPN as originally scheduled.
Bryant is sidelined with a knee injury that is expected to keep him out of action for about six weeks.
The Lakers defeated the Rockets, 99-98, in Houston on Nov. 7 when Steve Blake hit a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left.
The Jan. 8 game will now start at 5 p.m. PST.
Bryant is expected to be available to face the Rockets at Staples Center on Feb. 19.