<
>
Get ESPN+

The case for sitting Kobe

The Lakers' dreaded four-in-five stretch has proved to be dangerous for Kobe Bryant. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are a mess. They've gotten blown out in their first two games of the season. Steve Nash, who is suffering from nerve damage in his back, is out for the season and so is rookie Julius Randle after breaking his leg.

But if you thought the Lakers' start to the season couldn't get any worse, think again. Now they have to deal with the NBA schedule's pitfall: four games in five nights. A product of cramming 82 games in just 170 days with an extended All-Star break in between; schedule-makers handed the Lakers a back-to-back to kick off the season, only to be followed by another back-to-back with just one day off in between.

Just what the Lakers needed, huh? All but two teams -- the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs -- will have to go through at least one of the dreaded four-in-five stretches. The Lakers' just so happens to come at the very beginning of the season.

And so the burden falls on Kobe Bryant, a 36-year-old coming off two major leg injuries, to carry the extra load. But this feels ominous. Remember when Bryant fractured his kneecap, ending his season last December? The devastating injury occurred during -- you guessed it -- his fourth game in five nights.