Kobe sits more as Lakers look ahead
LOS ANGELES – Next season's outlook is directly affecting the Lakers, who have turned an eye toward the future as part of their reasoning for sitting Kobe Bryant for several games.
Bryant did not play Monday against the Phoenix Suns, marking his eighth absence in the past 15 games.
Bryant, 36, has one more year and $25 million on his contract.
Looking ahead was "part of the process," Lakers coach Byron Scott acknowledged Monday.
The goal with Bryant this season, Scott said, now is to get "as much out of him as possible but also to get him to the point where next year he can also play at that high level again and not spend everything he has this year."
•HAWKS STAY ON A ROLL: The Atlanta Hawks won their 13th game in a row, one shy of tying the team record, as Mike Scott and Paul Millsap each scored 20 points Monday in a 93-82 victory over the visiting Detroit Pistons. The Hawks haven't lost since Dec. 26 vs. Milwaukee.
•KNICKS END SKID: The host New York Knicks halted their 16-game losing streak, getting 24 points and nine rebounds from Carmelo Anthony to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 99-92. The Knicks held on for their first victory since Dec. 12 and ended the longest single-season skid in franchise history.
•WARRIORS HOT AT HOME: Klay Thompson scored 22 points, and the host Golden State Warriors tied a franchise record with their 16th consecutive home victory, beating the Denver Nuggets 122-79.
•CLIPPERS HANG ON: Blake Griffin scored 22 points, DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the host Los Angeles Clippers held off the Boston Celtics 102-93 after losing most of a 23-point lead.
•CAVS STREAK AT THREE: LeBron James scored 26 points and forward Kevin Love had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers' impressive 108-94 victory against the visiting Chicago Bulls. All five Cavs starters scored in double figures, including double-doubles from Love, Timofey Mozgov and Kyrie Irving as the Cavalierss won their third game in a row.
•NOWITZKI LEADS MAVS: Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points, including the last eight for visiting Dallas in the final two minutes, and the Mavericks defeated the Grizzlies 103-95. The Grizzlies took a two-point lead with about four minutes left, but Dallas then outscored Memphis 14-4.
• RAPTORS EDGE BUCKS: Kyle Lowry scored 18 points and was one of six Toronto players to reach double figures in the Raptors' 92-89 victory over the host Milwaukee Bucks. Terrence Ross added 16 points as the Atlantic Division leaders won for the third time in 10 games.