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Kobe (knee) starts vs. Hornets in final visit to Charlotte

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant played with a sore right knee in Sunday's 112-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and followed through with his plan to play Monday against the Hornets in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Monday was Bryant's final game in Charlotte. He has announced his plans to retire after this season, his 20th in the NBA.

"I'll definitely be ready to go," Bryant said after going 6-for-15 with 19 points in Sunday's loss. "Those cities we only go to once. I'll be ready to go."

Bryant, 37, said his sore knee started bothering him only recently and almost kept him out of Sunday's game against the Grizzlies.

"Honestly, I wasn't going to play," he said.

But Bryant said he saw an excited mob of fans gathered at the team hotel in Memphis as he boarded the team bus.

"I felt really, really awful about [the idea of not playing]," he said. "I felt I could kind of muster up enough to go out there and play."

Bryant played the entire first and third quarters but sat out the second and fourth, a move Lakers coach Byron Scott said was intended to help, given Bryant's condition.

"It felt good," Bryant said. "I felt I was able to get a rhythm in the first by playing longer minutes. Then obviously sitting out the whole second and trying to kind of loosen back up tonight was a little tough, but it was the best thing to do."

Bryant faces a challenge between trying to play in every game for fans who come to see him play one last time and also listening to his body.

"You go out there and just try to do what you can," he said. "You get nice and loose and play a quarter and then kind of rest the second quarter and then come out the third quarter, try to get loose again, play another quarter. You get what you can."