Battier braces for Kobe's offensive assault

MIAMI - Turns out, Shane Battier will have a bit more help than it first appeared in his defensive assignment Thursday night against the league's leading scorer.

Even though he had been coming off the Miami Heat bench, Battier was a late addition to the starting lineup Thursday and will be the primary defender on Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. With LeBron James now set to play after missing shootaround with flu-like symptoms, Battier will have some assistance.

Bryant enters the game averaging 30.8 points per game, and recently had a string of four consecutive 40-point games. Battier has been regarded as one of the league's better perimeter defenders throughout his career.

Before the game, Battier talked about the challenge he faces in his attempt to keep Bryant from erupting for a monster game. That process, Battier joked earlier today, would start with sending up a few Hail Marys and visiting a Hindu temple for divine intervention.