Bryant rested against Wolves
Bryant was scratched against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, one night after he did not play in a loss at Denver.
The Lakers need only one victory or a Nuggets loss in the final five games to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Bryant's aching finger contributed to 13 of 47 shooting in his previous two games, so coach Phil Jackson chose to rest him to get ready for the playoffs.
Jackson said he's not ready to say whether Bryant will play against Portland on Sunday.
The game Friday night was the Lakers' only appearance in Minnesota this season, and Jackson said he ran into some fans at the team hotel who had traveled from around the upper Midwest to see one of the league's most dynamic players in action.
The Timberwolves, the worst team in the Western Conference, have struggled all season to attract fans but were expecting a pretty full house for the game against Bryant and the Lakers.
"I'm sorry about their disappointment because obviously people have traveled distances to come and see him and this is the only appearance we have here this year," Jackson said. "I hope we give a good performance for those who come."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press