Kobe Bryant drives on Kings guard Ben McClemore as teammate Roy Hibbert sets a screen during first half of a game at Staples Center on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell drives to the basket for a layup during the first half of a game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Kobe Bryant drives past Kings guard Ben McClemore during the first half of a game at Staples Center on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers Coach Byron Scott looks on as guard Jordan Clarkson moves the ball up the court against Kings guard Darren Collison during the second half of a game on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Kobe Bryant offers a subtle tap to teammate Anthony Brown as he leaves the court during second half of the Lakers’ 112-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers center Brandon Bass tries in vain to save the ball from going out of bounds during the second half of the Lakers’ 112-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Lou Williams, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell sit on the bench during the final minutes of the Lakers’ 112-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers teammates D’Angelo Russell, right, and Jordan Clarkson share a moment of support during a break in the action against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins is swarmed by Lakers Kobe Bryant, left, Roy Hibbert and Julius Randle during the first half at Staples Center.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
These are the lost games in a long-ago jettisoned season.
The pattern fell into the same circular file, the Lakers playing against a sub-.500 team at Staples Center.
Not much was at stake. There was very little buzz in the building Wednesday unless Kobe Bryant scored. The ending was predictable.
The Sacramento Kings beat the Lakers, 112-93, after center DeMarcus Cousins ground them up with 36 points and 16 rebounds.
There was even a brief “We want Phil!” chant from a few fans as the Lakers fell behind by 16 in the third quarter.
It was hard to tell from their three-word mantra whether they wanted Jackson to coach (he’s retired from the sidelines) or in the front office (he’s competently running the New York Knicks).
Either way, Brandon Bass had a season-high 18 points off the bench and Bryant had 15 for the Lakers (9-35).
With precious little to dissect, it seemed sensible to peer into the Lakers’ lottery chances.
They remained the NBA’s second-worst team and currently held a 55.69% chance of keeping their top-three protected pick in May. If they fall out of the top three on lottery night, they lose their pick because of the Steve Nash trade.
Philadelphia (6-38) remains a few games below them in the standings despite a monumental one-game winning streak. The Brooklyn Nets (11-32) are slightly better than the Lakers.
It might be a moot question, but what can be done about all the losing?
“You can’t be chumped,” Bryant said. “Nobody in this locker room is a chump to capitulate to that and accept that [as] fact. It’s not going to happen. So you just come out, you just try to improve and try to work every single game and get better at certain things.”
Lakers fans in attendance got to cheer a few times Wednesday.
There were “M-V-P” chants when Bryant reentered the game with 7:24 left. He had 15 points on four-for-11 shooting at the time. The Lakers were down nine.
At least the Lakers only somewhat embarrassed themselves defensively. They gave up an average of 125 points their first two games against the Kings, both losses. Maybe Wednesday was progress?
Not with Cousins carving them up in the key. Willie Cauley-Stein, drafted four spots below D’Angelo Russell last June, had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Kings’ starting center.
For what it’s worth, Lakers Coach Byron Scott revealed he recently demanded more from Russell and Jordan Clarkson, saying he “hit [them] over the head the other day.”
He didn’t really smack the young guards but wanted to see more accountability on offense and better clock management, shot selection, etc.
He told them they “can’t play like you’re on the school ground,” and his intentions probably were in the right place. But with freewheeling veterans Bryant and Lou Williams on the team, shot selection is always going to be marginal. Always.
Clarkson and Russell each made five of 15 shots against the Kings (18-23).
Maybe things can only get better. They probably won’t this week.
San Antonio, winner of 11 consecutive games, comes to town Friday. Have fun.
Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan