Shannon Brown, describing the second-quarter dunk from Kobe Bryant over Emeka Okafor electrifying both the crowd and the team in Tuesday's Game 5 win, called it a moment reminiscent of a younger Kobe: "He dug deep. Whatever they gave him, I want some," Brown said. "Whatever the shot, the pill, whatever it was ... I want some. It was like he had his Afro back."
Certainly this guy would have been proud.
After the game, Bryant broke down the play.
"I just had a lane to the basket. It looked like he was going to challenge me at the rim, and I accepted the challenge," he said. "It's [was] a message for us that this is important. It's time to raise up and do what we've got to do. They know I save those. I don't have [many] of those left."
Oh, and regarding Kobe's decision not to get pictures (magnetic or X-ray) of his bad foot and ankle following Game 4, he explained it following Tuesday's win. "I was moving OK. I didn't feel like it was broke or anything like that. If it was it really wouldn't matter, anyway. I would have played, anyway. So it would have been a waste of time to go all the way up there and do that and then sit in the 405 traffic for two hours," he said.
"I don't know why you guys were so concerned about the MRI. It's not like we would have told you the results, anyway."
And there you have it. Still don't love the logic, but if I overestimated the potential severity of the injury coming out of Sunday's game and Monday's practice, I'm happy to be wrong. Asked about his therapy schedule, Kobe said following Game 4 he underwent treatment "All the time. Non stop." Obviously it helped, as will a relatively light load (28-plus minutes, only three shots in the second half) Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's flight to New Orleans.
The book isn't closed on Sunday's injury, but for the time being it seems like the author isn't Stephen King.
More from Bryant below the jump...
Kobe, on a big boost from the bench, team depth, the ability to tap into younger versions of himself, and more. Particularly entertaining was his response to Phil Jackson's comment about Bryant being a "liability" defensively early in the game.
"You guys have to understand what Phil says all the time is just being a smart ass," he said.
Still, Bryant admitted to being limited. "It was stiff, I had a hard time moving and all that. But liability is strong."
And for the record, at the end of his media time, Kobe was asked about his health and status into Thursday's Game 6. "I'm doubtful," he said with a smile. For the record, he was kidding. So if you see any suspicious Tweets this morning, feel free to ignore them, as opposed to spitting up breakfast.