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Lakers Coach Mike Brown has no regrets about benching Kobe Bryant

March 27, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Lakers Coach Mike Brown defends his decision to bench Kobe Bryant in favor of Metta World Peace.
Lakers Coach Mike Brown defends his decision to bench Kobe Bryant in favor… (Rob Carr / Getty Images )

Lakers fans weren’t the only ones wondering why Coach Mike Brown subbed in Metta World Peace for his best player with his team trailing by 14 points late in a game.

“My son asked me that, too,” Brown said Tuesday.

And what was Brown’s response?

“I said, 'Good question,' " Brown said. “I just said I felt like I needed to make a sub, so I made a sub.”

Brown removed Kobe Bryant in favor of World Peace with five minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday as the Lakers trailed the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-79. Bryant didn’t return until there was only 1:51 left, too late to make much difference in the Lakers’ eventual 102-96 defeat.

Brown refused to second-guess the most dissected move of his Lakers coaching career, saying he had no regrets.

“To play Monday morning quarterback or look back on stuff … it’s easy to say, ‘Hey, I should have done this or that,’ ” Brown said, “but I probably would have done it the same way. Who knows?”

Brown had a simple explanation when prodded further about his substitution.

“I felt it needed to happen to win the game,” he said.

Bryant had scored 18 points on seven-for-14 shooting at the time of his removal and had not been playing stellar defense.

Brown and Bryant have not discussed the way the final minutes unfolded, according to Brown. Bryant did not publicly question his benching, saying after the game that it was his coach’s decision to make.

Brown said he did not notice when Bryant strayed from the huddle during a late timeout, standing near the top of the key as coaches diagramed a play. But the buzz sparked by Brown’s decision to remove his leading scorer was impossible to ignore.

“When I got home, my son goes, ‘Dad, you’re the No. 1 topic on Twitter!’ ” Brown said. “I was like, ‘What?’ From that standpoint, that’s the only thing I’ve heard of it. But I haven’t read or seen anything. But obviously Kobe is Kobe, and he’s the talk of a lot of things that he does or that happens to him.”

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