Kobe Bryant starts, scores 40 vs. Pacers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant started Tuesday and scored 40 points in the Lakers' 79-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers despite flu-like symptoms.

"He told me it's not going to bother him. ... He'll play, he'll play hard," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game.

Bryant, missed Tuesday morning's shootaround but still managed the 114th 40-point game of his career, which included a game-tying 3-pointer with 24.5 seconds to go. Bryant also had 3 assists and 10 turnovers as the Lakers came up short after George Hill scored with 0.1 seconds left to give the Pacers the win.

"Laid up in bed. .. I'm under the weather," Bryant wrote on his Facebook page earlier Tuesday. "Drinking a lot of fluids. Trying to shake the aches and chills thru rest, medicine and a lil Bob Marley on the speakers. Big game for us tonight."

The Lakers were without point guards Steve Nash (fractured fibula) and Steve Blake (strained abdomen) on Tuesday, but D'Antoni did not rule out the possibility of either being available Friday when the Lakers host the Denver Nuggets.

"They're making progress, but we're not there yet," D'Antoni said. "It's a few more days, but both of them are making progress. We're happy with both of them. I think they're getting a little more reassured that, hey, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Blake did not participate in Tuesday's shootaround, while Nash used the time to go through on-court activities and drills with Lakers strength coach Tim DiFrancesco.

D'Antoni said the nerve discomfort Nash was experiencing in his left leg has started to improve.

"It's subsiding a little bit," D'Antoni said. "He can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, I don't know if that means three days, five days, 10 days, but he's more upbeat today than he was yesterday."

Nash has been out of the lineup since the Lakers' second game of the season, when he collided with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and suffered his leg injury.

Blake has missed the Lakers' past seven games because of his abdomen strain.

"It's going to be a little while," D'Antoni said of Blake. "He said he felt better (Tuesday) but he still feels it a little bit, and he can't feel that when he starts to practice. Then if he doesn't feel it in practice, then he'll play."