Kobe Bryant was nearly not around for his near perfect, 21-point fourth quarter in the Lakers' amazing 105-103 comeback victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Bryant injured his groin in the third quarter, and trainer Gary Vitti approached him to wrap it and perhaps end his evening.
"I twisted his arm," Bryant said. "I said, 'It's all right, I want to go back in the game, don't snitch on me."
Afterward, Coach Phil Jackson viewed Bryant's condition -- a pulled groin that will be examined today -- as both admirable and worrisome.
"I don't know how he'll be [today], he was pretty hobbled out there," Jackson said. "But he played through it."
Bryant said he was surprised that everyone was so shocked by their 30-point comeback.
"We've done this before, guys," he said.
Um, no, you haven't, it was the largest comeback in Laker history.
"But we've done things like this before," said Bryant. "That's the character of us. I tell you what, you'll never leave our games early again.
"All the ones who stayed tonight, it was like they were saying, 'We know you have the heart of a champion, and we're sticking around.' I'm glad they did."
One player who checked out early was Maverick guard Steve Nash, who left the game early in the fourth quarter with his team leading by 21.
He promptly dressed in all of his warmup gear and sat down on the bench ... and less than two minutes later, he was peeling off all the layers and rushing back into the game after the Lakers had scored eight consecutive points.
Before the game, the Lakers activated power forward Samaki Walker and waived center Soumaila Samake. Walker had been sidelined six games.