Kobe exits game early with bum leg … but is that the real reason?

The Lakers certainly hope Kobe Bryant (center) can impart some wisdom and knowledge on guards D'Angelo Russell (left) and Lou Williams, but probably not from the bench ... with a towel over his legs ... before he left the court for the locker room to have an injury examined.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

 

Kobe Bryant left the Lakers’ 107-100 exhibition loss to the Sacramento Kings with a bruised left leg Tuesday night and did not return.

Or at least that was the story the Lakers gave the media after the game. But early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Daily News Lakers beat reporter Mark Medina confirmed earlier social media buzz that Bryant instead left the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to be by the side of former teammate Lamar Odom, who was hospitalized earlier in the day after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel.

Bryant appeared to be kneed on a second-half drive to the basket and went to the locker room at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Lakers called his injury a left lower-leg contusion.

Bryant is returning to action after missing most of the last two seasons with knee and shoulder injuries. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting Tuesday.

As for the game, Marco Belinelli scored 17 points and Darren Collison added 16 points and seven assists to pace the Kings, now 4-1 in the preseason.

Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points for the Lakers (1-4).

Kings: Rajon Rondo had 11 points and six assists.

TOP 5 DUNKERS

Lakers: Lou Williams scored 16 points off the bench.

Resting up: DeMarcus Cousins sat out in part because Sacramento coach George Karl wanted to remind his players not to rely too much on the All-Star center.

Up next: Sacramento faces New Orleans at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky — Cousins’ college town — on Saturday. The Lakers face the Warriors in San Diego on Saturday.