As the rumor mill churns in Los Angeles, the Lakers still have games to play and will resume their homestand Sunday versus the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
The Lakers fired coach Mike Brown hours before disposing of the Golden State Warriors, 101-77, Friday night. Bernie Bickerstaff was appointed interim coach, but rumors are circling that Phil Jackson could return to the team he won five of his 11 NBA titles with.
Mike D'Antoni, Brian Shaw and Mike Dunleavy are possible options as coach, but Bickerstaff is in charge right now. However, Bickerstaff doesn't appear to be in the future plans for general manager Mitch Kupchak.
In the aftermath of the Brown firing, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Pau Gasol added 14 and 16 rebounds. Dwight Howard was limited to six points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who have won two of three games since starting 0-3. Brown was 1-4 when he was relieved of his duties.
"It's been a long day," Bryant admitted. "We were all surprised with the news. We just had to go about our business."
Bickerstaff talked about his day afterward.
"I had butterflies, but I enjoyed myself," Bickerstaff said. "Everybody had a little pep in their step. We made some progress."
The Lakers had a 58-47 rebounding advantage and shot 40 percent for the game. Jordan Hill contributed 14 points off the bench for Los Angeles, which also will host San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston and Brooklyn. In other team news, forward Devin Ebanks was inactive after getting arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs Friday morning.
Lakers new guard and veteran Steve Nash is still bothered by a left fibula injury and isn't expected to return any time soon.
Sacramento looks to get back into the win column Sunday and had a modest two- game winning streak cut short with Friday's 97-86 setback versus the Spurs.
Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson scored 17 points apiece, while DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who went 2-1 on a three-game homestand.
"I thought our guys played really hard," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "But, when you play a team like this, you have to be almost perfect. We had too many unfinished plays."
Sacramento fell to 0-4 this season when trailing at halftime. Kings rookie Thomas Robinson served the first game of his two-game suspension after elbowing Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko in the head Wednesday.
After visiting the Lakers, Sacramento will return home for four games versus the Trail Blazers, Hawks, Nets and Lakers.
The Kings took two of three meetings with the Lakers a season ago, but L.A. has won 10 of the past 13 matchups in this series. Sacramento hasn't fared too well as the guest against the Lakers, losing seven of the past eight.