The Lakers ended a winless Week 8 with Kobe Bryant considering taking time off after the team's Sunday-night loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Week 9 proved to be only slightly more productive with one win in four tries.
Coach Byron Scott mulled over resting Bryant, ultimately choosing to sit his All-Star guard on Tuesday when the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors.
Surprisingly, the Lakers dominated the Warriors, finishing with a 115-105 victory. Wayne Ellington filled in well for Bryant in the starting lineup. The game wasn't as close as the final score.
The Lakers traveled to Chicago to play the Bulls and Pau Gasol on Christmas Day. Gasol said it would feel "weird" to face his former team.
Bryant, who sat out the holiday game to get additional rest, said he was not surprised by Gasol's resurgence with the Bulls. The Lakers kept the game close but faded late in a 113-93 loss.
The next night Scott gave Bryant another day off, and the Lakers fell on Friday to the Mavericks in Dallas, 102-98. A late run gave the Lakers a chance, but they ultimately ran out of time.
Bryant returned to the lineup Sunday, as the Lakers returned home to host the Phoenix Suns, ultimately falling short in a close battle, 116-107.
Meanwhile, the Lakers had interest in Josh Smith, cut by the Detroit Pistons, but he chose to join the Houston Rockets.
To make room for Smith, the Rockets waived Tarik Black -- whom the Lakers claimed off waivers Sunday, cutting injured swingman Xavier Henry to create a roster spot.
Finally, Magic Johnson and Scott remain close friends, even if they have different views on the idea of the Lakers tanking to secure a high draft pick.
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