Lakers coach Mike Brown leaves arena

Lakers coach Mike Brown left Staples Center shortly before tipoff Friday night for undisclosed personal reasons.

Assistant coach John Kuester is currently coaching Los Angeles in their game against the Denver Nuggets.

Brown’s in his first season with the Lakers (37-22), who are in first place in the Pacific Division going into Friday night. He attended his regular pregame media gathering about 90 minutes before game time before suddenly leaving the building.

Kuester is a veteran NBA assistant who served as the Detroit Pistons head coach for two seasons from 2009-11. He was fired by Detroit last June.

Kuester also coached the Lakers in Philadelphia on Feb. 6 while Brown served a one-game suspension for making contact with an official. He spent two seasons as Brown’s assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers before taking over in Detroit.

The Lakers are also playing Friday without NBA scoring leader Kobe Bryant, who’s sitting out his fourth straight game with a bruised shin. Devin Ebanks remained in Bryant’s spot in the starting lineup.