The visiting Lakers will have to try to make it 11 in a row Wednesday night without him as they look to hand the Nets a fourth straight home defeat.
Although Los Angeles (7-8) has always enjoyed success against the franchise it swept in the 2002 NBA Finals - when Nets coach Jason Kidd was the team's point guard - it's hard to say who to favor in this one. The Lakers are 1-5 on the road while Brooklyn (4-10) is trying to avoid matching its longest home skid since moving to the borough last season.
The Lakers are enduring trying times without Bryant, who is moving closer to completing his rehab from surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon.
''We don't think about it much at all. We have a job to do now, the guys who are in the lineup. Everybody's focused on their responsibility and I think we've done pretty good so far,'' guard Jordan Farmar said after Tuesday's 116-111 loss at Washington.
''We're still learning and still trying to figure each other out. It's going to be a work in progress even when he does come back, trying to figure out everybody's role.''
Brooklyn also played Tuesday, ending a season-high five-game slide with a 102-100 victory at Toronto. Andray Blatche led the way with 24 points.
''Those guys in that locker room finally said they'd had enough,'' Kidd said. ''There's a bunch of guys in there with pride and they understood what they had to do tonight.''
The Nets probably don't have any sympathy for the Lakers' plight. Brook Lopez has missed the last six games and Deron Williams the last three, both with left ankle injuries. Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko are also out.
One of these teams will win in the second half of back-to-back contests for the first time. Los Angeles has dropped its previous three such games by an average margin of 18.0 points while the Nets are 0-2.
The last time the Nets played a back-to-back set Nov. 15-16, veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett played in the first contest and sat out the second. Both saw action Tuesday.
Kidd chose not to use Reggie Evans against the Raptors. The veteran big man will likely be back in action one night later.
"We can't play everybody on every night but we gotta now turn the page and get ready for the Lakers and the guys who didn't play have to be ready," Kidd said.
Shaun Livingston has started at point guard the last three games in place of Williams, totaling 10 points on 3-of-16 shooting to go with 14 assists.
The Lakers will regroup after allowing the Wizards to shoot 52.9 percent - the second-highest figure by an opponent. Farmar scored 22 off the bench and Pau Gasol had 17 points and a season-high eight assists.
Farmar will play against the Nets for the first time since his two seasons with the club between 2010-12.
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- Los Angeles Lakers
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