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Kobe Bryant out Friday night vs. Hawks due to shoulder issues

Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant holds an ice pack on his right shoulder as he takes a seat on the bench during the second half of the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 117-107. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AP

It’s his farewell tour — Kobe Bryant isn’t taking the court with the pressure of lifting the Lakers to the playoffs (that ship sailed long ago), he’s out there to put on a show for the fans. He takes that responsibility seriously. He doesn’t sit out just to rest.

But he will be out Friday when the Lakers tip-off an eight-game homestand against Atlanta, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. Sucks for Lakers fans, as people are paying good money to see him one more time.

The reason he is out is his sore shoulder. Kobe only played 11 minutes in the last Lakers game in Denver, sitting out the second half, due to the shoulder issue that has bothered him all season.

Byron Scott is leaning more heavily on D’Angelo Russell to run the offense post All-Star break, and the rookie is responding with some impressive play. He is showing improvement, which I would argue has come in spite of Scott’s handling of him, but that’s another debate for another day.