LOS ANGELES -- It was bound to happen sooner or later. The effect of all those minutes is taking a toll on Kobe Bryant.
What was left of him after playing all but 73 seconds the previous two games and 42 more minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers' 86-84 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night could barely get up out of the chair afterward.
"I'm f-ing tired," Bryant said, when asked why his voice sounded so rough. Bryant is one of the best-conditioned athletes on the planet. He puts his body through rigorous workouts during the season and over the summers to be able to handle workloads like this. But even he might have a limit.
You could see it in his weary expression in the second half of Friday's game, but not in the stat sheet. Bryant had another 24 points, nine assists and five rebounds Friday. But toward the end of the game, he didn't seem to have his legs as he missed five of his six fourth-quarter shots.
Pau Gasol, for one, was a little concerned afterward.
"I'd like to see him be a little less aggressive early on and be more aggressive later in the game," Gasol said. "He needs his legs to be effective. And with the amount of minutes he's playing lately, it's normal that he's tired at the end of games.
"He's just playing a lot of minutes. I already said two games ago that I was concerned about it. But he's the best at making plays down the stretch. That's why he's got the ball in his hands, and we count on those plays, especially in close games like this one."