Kobe Bryant to sit out Lakers game vs. Portland; coach takes blame

Kobe Bryant to sit out Lakers game vs. Portland; coach takes blame
Pacers forwards David West (21) and Solomon Hill (44) cut off a drive by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during their game last week. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Kobe Bryant will sit out Sunday night, when the Lakers (12-25) host the Portland Trail Blazers (29-8) at Staples Center.

The 36-year-old All-Star will miss his second consecutive game and sixth  this season to rest his aching body.

Coach Byron Scott recently reduced Bryant's playing time after he was averaging 37.1 minutes a game through November and 34.2 in December.

"It was an overload," said Scott, "I should have figured out that it was going to take a little time, but watching his workouts and what great shape he was in, I think I got a little too confident.

"I was wrong," admitted Scott.

Bryant missed all but six games last season with Achilles' tendon and knee injuries.

"I wish I had kept his minutes at 30 or 32 minutes, back-to-back games, I wish I had thought to sit him down then," said Scott before Sunday's game.

Bryant has played in three games in January, at a more reasonable 31 minutes a night.

"I'm just trying to make up for the minutes I played him earlier, get him more rest," Scott continued.

Big picture, Scott said he's not worried about Bryant's status for the rest of the season.

"I'm not concerned about his health at all," said Scott.

Still, the Lakers coach acknowledged he has to monitor Bryant's time on the court closely.

"He's played a lot of years," Scott said. "I have to be a little concerned about that, that's why I'm taking such precautionary measures, as far as not to let him play so many games. I want him to be right, not only for this season, but next season as well."

Scott also said there's no point regretting the decisions made previously in the season.

"You look back at it, I say, 'Man, I wish I would have,' but I didn't," said Scott of Bryant's minutes.  "We have to move on from here."

Bryant's status moving forward is game to game, with Scott saying he'll rest Bryant at times based on the schedule.

The Lakers host the Miami Heat (16-21) on Tuesday night.

Bryant is averaging 23 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists a game but is shooting a career-low 37.5% from the field.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.