There's less than a month remaining in Kobe Bryant's storied career, and he's looking forward to getting it over with.
For now he'll try to help the Los Angeles Lakers save face Tuesday night and avoid being swept in a season series by the Sacramento Kings for the first time.
Bryant's career is winding down in the midst of the Lakers' worst season. Los Angeles (14-53) has the lowest win percentage in franchise history at .209 and has 15 games left to avoid the team record for fewest wins – 19 while in Minneapolis in 1957-58.
That could be partly why Bryant is eager to finish the season.
“One month, 15 games. I'm ready. It's exciting,” Bryant said. “These next 15 games should be fun and the last one should be the most fun.”
A couple of high-profile matchups against friends have allowed Bryant to have some fun. He had 26 points in a 120-108 loss to Cleveland on Thursday in his last game against LeBron James before facing off with Carmelo Anthony one final time Sunday, scoring 14 on 5-for-15 shooting in a 90-87 loss to New York.
Bryant will try to bounce back as the Lakers look to end a six-game losing streak to Sacramento (25-40), their longest in the all-time series. They're surrendering an average of 115.7 points over that stretch and 120.7 in three meetings this season.
Bryant had 15 points as Los Angeles fell 112-93 at home Jan. 20.
D'Angelo Russell also struggled with 14 points while missing 10 of 15 from the field. The rookie guard was worse Sunday, going 1 for 7 and finishing with four points after averaging 23.3 over the previous eight games.
“You just bounce back with the next one,” Bryant said of Russell's struggles against the Knicks. “You have games where you kind of go up and down. He's been playing so well. He's been playing consistently well. But you have a bad game every now and then. He'll bounce back the next one.”
That may prove true despite Los Angeles' recent history with the Kings.
Sacramento is giving up an average of 114.0 points while losing 17 of 22, including nine of the last 10 to all but end its playoff hopes.
The Kings are also dealing with an unhappy DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended for Friday's 107-100 defeat to Orlando after unleashing a tirade at coach George Karl in the fourth quarter of a loss to Cleveland two days earlier.
Cousins has been suspended eight times in six seasons, and he's still bothered by the latest one handed down by general manager Vlade Divac.
“That was no suspension from the organization. That was one from the head coach. There's a difference,” Cousins said after the Kings' slide reached five with Sunday's 108-99 loss to Utah.
“There's been so much extra stuff this season. Extra, unnecessary stuff. There are a lot of battles between guys that should be on your side. I would say that this (loss) is one of the most frustrating ones.”
While Cousins' attitude may be a problem, his recent production has been impressive. He's averaging 32.8 points over his last four games after scoring 31 on Sunday.
Cousins has totaled 65 points and 26 rebounds while connecting on 61.8 percent from the floor over the last two meetings with the Lakers.