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Kobe Bryant's ability to play through pain jump starts Lakers in 108-95 victory over Clippers


Biting into his jersey, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant headed over toward the sideline.

It didn't appear he said anything to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, but his body language told the whole story. Bryant limped toward Jackson and let out a simple hand gesture signaling to take him out of the game. Knowing it's rare that Bryant ever avoids playing through pain, Jackson asked zero questions and quickly walked two seats down to tell reserve guard Shannon Brown to enter the lineup with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter Friday against the Clippers. Less than a minute later, Bryant stood up from the bench and entered the locker room with team physical trainer Alex McKechnie following suit.

Bryant temporarily removed himself because of what the Lakers termed an ulnar nerve contusion in his right elbow, a medical description for Bryant essentially hurting his funny bone. But it turns out a halftime's worth of treatment and exercises that entailed stretching his range of motion proved all that he needed. Bryant returned in the second half and scored 18 of his 24 points in the third quarter en route to the Lakers' 108-95 victory Friday over the Clippers.

Factor in Pau Gasol's 22 points off mid-range jumpers and cuts to the lane. Praise Andrew Bynum for his engagement on both offense (nine points) and defense (two blocks). Note Brown overcoming a poor shooting night (10 points on a four of 14 clip) by filling in for Bryant's spot at shooting guard with energy plays. Highlight the bright future Devin Ebanks provided with two late-game alley oops that prompted Bryant to stand up and cheer and Jackson to grimace. And credit the Lakers' defense for holding the Clippers to 37.8% shooting. But it was Bryant's third-quarter effort that propelled the Lakers (41-19) to their third consecutive victory after the All-Star break. 

"I've been playing basketball since I was two," said Bryant, who described his right elbow as "very sore," but says he will play through it Sunday at Oklahoma City (36-21). "I can shoot the ball different ways. I don't have to shoot it like I normally shoot it. I can shorten it up. If I bend the elbow a little too much, that's when I feel it. I had to shorten it up a little bit and everything was fine."

Yes, everything turned out fine. After asking Bryant how he felt in the locker room at halftime, Jackson recalled Bryant telling him, " I'll be there." Lakers guard Shannon Brown recalled he and Bryant joking that he was just pulling a "rope a dope" on the Clippers, a charge Jackson joked about afterwards. "Kobe faked them out with the dead arm thing," Jackson said, "and then scored a lot of points." And Gasol later said he didn't even notice Bryant was hurting. Case in point, Bryant stepped on the court and took shots like every other Laker during warmups. But it became very clear how much the elbow affected him as Bryant wore a purple sleeve on his right arm. 

His first shot came on a left hook, an attempt Bryant said reflected how the Clippers played defense on him. But he quickly assuaged any fears with the following sequences. Bryant drilled two consecutive three-pointers, the latter one coming after Bynum threw a bounce pass on a give-and-go to Derek Fisher, who kicked the ball out from the baseline to far corner where Bryant drilled the trey. He then hit an elbow jumper, split through a double team to hit a runner and then teamed with Gasol on a give-and-go where Bryant cut to the lane.

After that shot gave the Lakers a 85-67 lead with 14.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Gasol pointed to Bryant and gave him a three-second hug. The 18,997 fans at Staples Center in turn chanted "M-V-P" before he failed to convert on the And-1 after drawing a foul on Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

"Nothing he does surprises me," Gasol said of Bryant. "He's a very good player and plays through pretty much anything. You see his hands and all of his fingers are really messed up. I don't know if many players could play like that, or any player really."

Well, Bryant can. He also strained his right elbow last season after being hit on his funny bone near the end of the third quarter of the Lakers' 112-103 double overtime victory Dec. 26, 2009 over the Sacramento Kings. Bryant left the game late in the third quarter and returned a few minutes into the fourth quarter, only to finish with 38 points on 16-for-30 shooting, including two three-points in the second overtime.

That's why Bryant decided to remove himself earlier Friday against the Clippers so that the pain wouldn't be as severe. After fouling Clippers guard Randy Foye on a sequence Bryant later said "hurt like a mothaf*****," he gave out all sorts of signals this was no ordinary injury. When Bryant sat down on the bench, he covered himself with a towel while Lakers trainer Gary Vitti looked at him. Bryant had a hard time bending the elbow because his whole arm went numb. And he gave out other signals that other parts of his body could be hurting too.

With Bryant limping off the court, it's plausible his surgically repaired right knee bothered him considering his acknowledgement there's very little cartilage to support the bone. Since Bryant smacked the ball on Foye's shot, it's possible the arthritis in his right index finger. Or it's plausible the sensitivity to his right pinkie worsened. In this case, however, it was the elbow. Brown's seen it all before to get too worked up over Bryant's health, though.

"As long as his arm is attached to his body, you knew he was going to get out there and give it all he had," Brown said. "It's even worse when he's in pain sometimes because his focus, intensity and attention to detail picks up a little bit. He showed that out there today."

He surely demonstrated that when he stole the ball on the final possession of the third quarter and finished with a left-handed dunk, a play that would've counted had time hadn't expired. It epitomized what Gasol has admired in Bryant for having a "high tolerance for pain" and that "you never know how much pain he's actually having because he's a tough guy." Consider, after all, Bryant's insistence that he didn't take any medication at halftime before proclaiming the antibiotic was labeled "tough as s***." 

"I don't think about it," Bryant said. " "I don't want to talk about it. I want to act like it's not there."

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant looks to drive against Clippers guard Randy Foye in the first half Friday night at Staples Center. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

Comments () | Archives (42)

The comments to this entry are closed.

S Perkins,

Dude, what is your problem?

I'm concerned that you have a serious psychiatric disorder.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Posted by: Jon K. |

My problem is Fisher. Why keep this clown on the floor ? Every game he proves why " Mr. Intangibles" should not be in the league. Yes...he is shooting wide open shots a little better than he was. But last night his passing and defense were PATHETIC !!!!!!!!!!! If he is so classy that why doesn't he retire ???

Thanks for your concern Jon K. And good luck with your job search. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. What kind of work do you do?
I own an IT staffing firm.

Kobe's ability to play at a high level with pain is admirable.

Jay Cutler?

S Perkins,

You are 100% right.

Fisher IS the Lakers vulnerability.

He should not have been resigned.
Neither should Blake.

Lakers should have gone with Farmar, Sasha, Brown, & a young pg.
Everyone loves to say "You don't need a true point guard to run the triangle".

Well then Sasha and Kobe could have played at the same time.


Lakers are thin at guard.


Ramon Session busted him ... c'mon.

Who can Fisher defend?

Can DFISH defend Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton, Chris Paul, Andre Miller, Russell Westbrook, Aaron Brooks, Baron Davis, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker .....

Who who who can Fisher guard?

Or ... will all the above players and more blow by Fisher getting into the paint causing Lakers defensive problems?

Phil ignores the obvious.

Very nice win Lakeshow!

Now 3 & o,

since the all star show!

Let's Gow!



With the game all wrapped-up but the final score in the 4th quarter, Blake Griffin entered the game and after he got one (1) rebound, he went out again. Doing it for the sake of a Double-Double night? Very Lebronesque. I doubt if Vinny was responsible for that. Was slowly becoming a fan of Griffin until that instance.

I could be wrong about this.


I looked it up in the Box Scores, and yes, Blake Griffin had 10 rebounds. So I guess that confirms my speculation. IMO, not good. If he went in to play the remainder of the quarter, I wouldn't have speculated such.


Good Morning JovBatz44! How are you my brother on this wonderful day after a Laker Victory day? Don't get down on Blake just yet, he's still feeling his way!!!

Last season, Fisher was often a liability during regular season and my comments reflected that. However, playoffs came and he was a totally different player, who undoubtedly had big contributions towards the trophy; and my comments reflected that too by acknowledging his great plays in last 2 playoffs. The lesson I learned was to refrain from posting any more comments about Fisher during regular season since the guy is a warrior who regularly shows up during crunch time. Additionally, if PJ wants to play Fish, that is good enough for me. I truly believe D Fisher will walk away if he does not think he could help the Lakers. Fisher is no doubt an unsung hero on this team.

Larry my brother!!! How are you???

I'm doin fine esp. on a 3 game winning streak. Hope you are doing terrific!

Well, I guess you're right, Blake is still young. I have high respect for him until that instance, I guess he will have to win my trust again. As if he cares about me!He doesn't even know me...LOL!!!


Gotta do this, DJ LRob Style........

It's a Beautiful Day!!!!


It's a Beautiful Day!!!! by: JovBatz44 | February 26, 2011 at 06:16 AM
Yes it is DJ JovBatz44, Yes it is!!! Carry on my brother!!!!

Yes Indeed, It is a BEAUTIFUL DAY Mamba24!!!

But I gotta hit the sack now(it's 11PM- Manila Time). I still have a game tomorrow, hoping to have Kobe's touch come game time.LOL!

Take care my friend!


¿Gasol? In the way for a perfect game, 6-6 freetrows and 8-9 fieldshoots... mainly mid range shoots. Kobe as always, with or without pain he never forget to be the Laker's leader. Both at fourth quarter on the bench, the work was made before.

S Perkins,

Dude, what is your problem?

I'm concerned that you have a serious psychiatric disorder.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Posted by: Jon K. | February 25, 2011 at 10:32 PM


Jon K,

S Perkins is the reincarnation of last season's Dfish (the blogger). Just look at the same pattern of broken sentences, bad grammar and multiple punctuations.

Your stalker is back. 8-)


I saw Baylor before he messed up his knee. I saw West knock em down on frozen ropes with 3 seconds to go about 100 times. I saw Magic score 42 filling in for Kareem in the 6th game of the finals. But there is no one like Kobe. When he misses in crunch time it's surprising. He could seemingly hobble out there unable to stand on one leg and knock em down one-legged.

Kobe is the best finisher we've ever had. When he gets the ball close to the paint, i watch the Celtics' blood drain from their listless bodies as Kobe scores through three of them. Michael Whatever---i've seen Him throw up plenty of clunkers in the last minutes. LeBron? He's got a long way to go before he can be counted on like Kobe can be counted on, and produce.

The people who hate him are jealous we got him. Beat LA?! TRY IT.


Great win last night! Let's continue, one game at a time.

On a different note, Houston put Jared Jefferies on waiver wire. If he clears, maybe we should take a look at him for our team.

I am starting the "Donate DBDH's Elbow To Kobe Just In Case He Has A Real Injury We Need To Worry About Beofre The Playoffs" Bandwagon.


Great win last night! Let's continue, one game at a time.

On a different note, Houston put Jared Jefferies on waiver wire. If he clears, maybe we should take a look at him for our team.

I am starting the "Donate DBDH's Elbow To Kobe Just In Case He Has A Real Injury We Need To Worry About Beofre The Playoffs" Bandwagon.Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | February 26, 2011 at 08:08 AM

Oops ...Before...

Sorry, my elbow is hurting.


The people who hate him are jealous we got him. Beat LA?! TRY IT. THERE IS NO COMPARING TO THE MAMBA.Posted by: Native Angeleno | February 26, 2011 at 07:53 AM

ActuarialSound at Silver Screen and Roll has been doing a series of articles that is really interesting. He shows which Laker line ups and individual players perform best on offense, defense, reg season, playoffs, etc. He discusses what are the real issues for the Lakers vs the fake issues, supported with stats. The real vs fake issues was put together by a different writer (Clark) that A.S. addresses.

Key for the Lakers repeat this year seems to ride on the broad shoulders of none other that Ron Ron.

And, this part is "must see TV", well, ok, no TV, but the BIG DEBATE about Bynum, is addressed in this article:


"So I ask the much debated question, "how important is Andrew Bynum to the Lakers chances of winning a title?"
(end snip)

He also addressed whether the debated Melo for Bynum trade would have helped or hurt the Lakers chances this year and if the trade made sense.
Spoiler alert, yes, it did.

If you haven't checked it out yet give it a look, gets rid of a lot of myths, shows reality. Good stuff. Here's the link, written 2/21/11:

Oops ...Before...Sorry, my elbow is hurting. DBDH!
Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | February 26, 2011 at 08:10 AM
Stop that DBDH! Stop it NOW!!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


don't know if anyone mentioned this but ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" gave you a reference yesterday morning.

They mentioned the comment you got from Phil about the Celtics never losing with their five.

They were unsure of the pronunciation of your name apologizing if they got it wrong.

They said Me-deen-a or Me-dine-a

anyway congrats, I think lol

here's a link just for you

Good Morning Laker Nation,

Another vintage performance by Kobe. Pau was excellent, Drew was solid and it’s always good to see the rooks get some run. Pau continues to play good defensive on Blake Griffin. After 3 games Blake is shooting just 36% vs. the Lakers, compared to 51% vs. the rest of the league. Also good energy and defense by Shannon, but will somebody please tell him to stop shooting all those off balance jumpers.



I compare Bynum to an Aircraft Carrier with lot of ammo on board but difficult to move around because of his size. He can be deadly on a given day but an open target in an open court or against the small MIG's (PG). You can't teach height to anyone neither u can train a tall guy to run faster. Therefore, when the game is on the line, you can't leave it in the hands of Bynum but overall, he could help in covering the post, taking rebounds, dunking any balls under the basket thereby helping the team to win the game. We used to have C's like Wilt, Kareem and Shaq who were the focal points of both offense and defense, Bynum is just a baby compared to these Centers during their prime.

Artest is a strong defender i.e. if he's focused on the game. Similar to all- around Odom who contributes a lot but also gives a lot in form of TO's.

If we can solve all these dilemmas, then there will be alignment of planets for a sure three peat.

Good Morning; Troll Man, Art, DBDH, JovBatz44, The Snake, Christopher, Native Angeleno, KarManiac, CTran, Todd and of course...The Fabulous Justanothermambafan(Head of the Mamba Clan)!!!

Good Morning Edwin Gueco my mentor!! Alignment of the Planets indeed!!!

Good morning Mamba24

tomorrows game against OKC should be interesting. Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed are expected to play.


@JovBatz44- nice U2. Beautiful day indeed.

@NativeAngeleno – thanks for the historical perspective on Kobe.

@Art – interesting article. But we can only speculate on the impact that trading Bynum for Melo would have. We have seen the Lakers already win with the existing core. Therefore, I’m still of the opinion of keep the group intact and let’s roll.

@Mamba – Morning Mamba. Thank you. Now hopefully Shannon will listen to a fellow Chicagoan.

This year, getting outrebounded 45-39 at home, while giving up wide open 3's and not getting the benefit of the Free Throw scenario (Clips 25 FT, Lakers 16FT), would tell you it was another bad home loss. Not when Kobe Bryant and his Wolverine type pain threshold, amp up focus. 18 points in the third quarter, that took the Clippers heart and smothered it with determination. Throw in a super califragilisticexpealidocious efficient Pau and Drew. Only 6 turnovers. Timely defensive stops and the Lakers turned a dubious effort from one half into a determined victory, is the story of the 2nd half. And like everything else this season, this game wasn't the norm in the victory department. This is one where you had to dig deep or just give the ball to Kobe and let him work, either or is a good strategy.

tomorrows game against OKC should be interesting. Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed are expected to play. goodnight Posted by: Troll Man | February 26, 2011 at 08:41 AM
Just remember TrollMan, we have never beaten OKC when they had...Kendrick Perkins!!!
@ LRob, yes I hope Shannon does! Lol! By the way I see that encyclopedia basketball mind is working better than ever. How you know all these facts is mind boggling!!! Carry on sir!

Good Morning Mamba, Happy Oscar Weekend to you and your wifey. You are early this weekend. Lakers won three in a row, hurray three-peat dynasty of wins after ASG. Don't touch the remote, don't praise them too much, don't introduce another activity, it could distract them again. Let's win on Sunday and teach the other ambitious team in OK boasting of their new toys the ugly Perkins and Nazr.

Let's win on Sunday and teach the other ambitious team in OK boasting of their new toys the ugly Perkins and Nazr. Posted by: Edwin Gueco | February 26, 2011 at 08:59 AM
Let us indeed!! Edwin, Laker Nation...LET'S RIDE AMIGOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Three in a row, I love it....lets get it going Lakers keep it rolling; our defense is starting to rev it up holding Clippers to 37% shooting. This time we didn't let Blake Griffin beat us up like last time. Pay back baby1

Can't wait till they get down here in Miami on March 10th for a little pay back.

Go Lakers!


I second that brother. Lets roll into OKC and let them know that their still not on our level yet.It should be like a playoff atmosphere and it should be a tough game. But if we can keep it close at the end we should come out with the win.
Go Lakers!

To Christopher - Jared Jeffries is signing with the Knicks.
It's Leon Powe who we are showing interest in, he was just waived yesterday. But it looks like his interest is going back to Boston. Would like to see us go after him more aggressively, he was an integral part of Boston's 2008 Championship against us. Yes he tore up his knee since then but it seems that is behind him.

But if we can keep it close at the end we should come out with the win.
Go Lakers! Posted by: OCLEZY | February 26, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Keep it close? KEEP IT CLOSE?? OCLEZY, listen to me very closely...stop what you are doing immediately and drink 2, yes TWO cups of Dr. Fatty's LakerHolic elixir. We are the 4 Dynasty, 16 time, back-to-back, NBA Champion, Freakin LA Lakers!!! WE DON'T ADJUST TO TEAMS, TEAMS ADJUST TO US!!!! Keep it close indeed!!! Carry On sir!!!


Didn't know Leon Powe was still in the league. While he was very impressive in the '08 Finals, you have to wonder whether he's a one-hit wonder.

@Native Angeleno - "I saw Baylor before he messed up his knee."

Sadly, I was THERE the night Baylor messed up his knee. 1st Laker game of the '65 play-offs vs the Baltimore Bullets - they beat the St. Louis Hawks to earn a shot at the Lakers for the Western Division Finals. It was April 3rd, 1965, at the L.A. Sports Arena - my birthday was April 1st, and my Dad took me for a birthday gift. I was totally excited and thrilled to be there - even though I had been following the Lakers since they moved to L.A. for the 1960-61 season (my family had just moved to L.A. in 1959 when I was 9) it was my first time actually attending an NBA or Laker game. It was just 5 minutes into that game Baylor suffered that terrible injury - I believe he was dribbling in the offensive end - around the far sideline from our viewpoint and suddenly there was this loud, awful "pop/crack" kind of sound and he went down. It was completely disheartening and from the way he was attended to and helped off the court even my 15-year-old self knew he was probably through for the play-offs. Jerry West ended up pouring in...hmmm...I think it was 53 points that night and the Lakers somehow held off a very strong Baltimore team to win 121-115, and eventually took that series, 4 games-to-2. Without Baylor and against the deep and powerful Celtics they really had little chance in the Finals and went down 4-to-1, and it really wasn't even that close. Except for their one win and a 6 point loss in game 2 they were crushed by 32, 13 and 33 points in their other 3 losses. Jerry West ended the 11 game play-off run with a 40.6 ppg average, even though he played the last several games of the Boston series with a very bad hamstring that was heavily bandaged from just above the knee all the way up.

Those damned Celtics! It was just so incredibly frustrating to me to get to the finals so many times and then lose to them. Even worse was to think of how very close the '62 team came to pulling it off - Frank Selvy missing an open 10 footer for the win in game 7 and then losing in OT...pure agony. For the longest time I thought we'd never beat them, and it took until the 80's until it finally happened.



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