Lakers rest stars and drop regular-season finale

SACRAMENTO — Getting to know you …

Jordan Hill, the Lakers’ starting center, had logged 52 previous minutes with the team.

Josh McRoberts, their starting power forward, had mostly been an afterthought since midseason.

Christian Eyenga, one of their handful of available players off the bench, was making his first appearance as a Laker.

A lineup that might have seemed better suited to the Development League than a NBA game was on the court against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night at Power Balance Pavilion as Lakers regulars Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol rested three days before the playoffs.

Only hours after Bryant conceded the scoring title to Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant by not playing, the Lakers essentially gave the Kings a 113-96 victory in their regular-season finale.

The Lakers have more important games to play, beginning Sunday at Staples Center with their playoff opener against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers won three of four games between the teams during the regular season.

There were other Lakers missing Thursday, though their absence was entirely against their will. Matt Barnes remained in Los Angeles to receive treatment on a sprained right ankle and Metta World Peace began serving his seven-game suspension for elbowing James Harden in the head.

The Lakers’ starters consisted of reserves Hill, McRoberts, Devin Ebanks and Steve Blake along with Ramon Sessions, their primary point guard. Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he stuck with Sessions because Sessions was still relatively fresh after being stuck behind Kyrie Irving in Cleveland for much of the season before coming to the Lakers.

McRoberts finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the Lakers, who couldn’t stop Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (23 points and 19 rebounds) or Tyreke Evans (21 points).

Bryant sat on the bench wearing a gray suit, enjoying a hearty laugh with Gasol early in the third quarter and posing for pictures with a fan during a fourth-quarter timeout.

“Thirty-eight, Kobe!” a fan yelled at Bryant, referring to the number of points Bryant had needed to surpass Durant for the scoring title. Durant finished the season averaging 28.03 points to Bryant’s 27.86.

Asked if his intention was to place the Lakers’ needs ahead of an individual accomplishment, Bryant said, “Yeah. I mean, you have to send that message. That’s what this season is about, that’s what we’re about as a team. It’s not about the individual goals. You have to put the team goals ahead of them.”

Sessions described Bryant’s sitting out as a selfless act.

“The guy has plenty of accolades,” Sessions said. “He definitely put the team first.”

Brown said during the team’s shoot-around he did not consider it “a throwaway game” even though his team dressed only nine players and the game predictably took on a street-ball feel from the opening tip.

McRoberts made a three-pointer and tried to run a fastbreak that ended in a miss. The Lakers gave up layup after layup.

On the plus side, Ebanks didn’t seem to suffer any lingering effects from the accident that occurred Tuesday when he dropped a weight on the ring and middle fingers of his left hand. He made several layups and nimbly blocked a shot by Travis Outlaw on the way to finishing with 14 points on seven-for-11 shooting.

Eyenga had eight points in 19 uneven minutes in his Lakers debut after being promoted from the D-League, missing a layup and being called for goaltending.

If it’s any consolation for the dreadful Kings, they did win two of three meetings with the Lakers this season and swept them at home. Though the team faces an uncertain future with plans for a new arena in limbo, the Kings are contractually obligated to remain in Sacramento through at least the end of next season.