Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 5/11/12

Kobe Bryant gutted out a 31-point performance in a 113-96 Game 6 loss to the Nuggets on Thursday despite playing while ill. Kobe had a stomach issue that forced him to take two bags of IV fluids before the game and two more at halftime. He played well enough for the Lakers, but his teammates were lacking. He pointed that out after the game.

Asked whether he felt his teammates had matched his heart, Bryant said, “No, of course they didn’t.”

“We didn’t step up and meet [the Nuggets'] energy,” Bryant said, meaning Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol when he said “we.” “They know that. I expect them to come out Game 7, and play with a sense of urgency and a sense of desperation that wasn’t there the last two games.”

Gasol went 1-10 for a paltry 3 points and 3 rebounds in 29 minutes. Bynum had 11 and 16 in 30 minutes. Bryant is looking forward to having Metta World Peace, who returns from a seven-game suspension for elbowing James Harden, back in Game 7 of the series.

“He’s the one guy I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard and play with that sense of urgency, play with no fear,” Bryant said. “I’m looking forward to having that on my side again.”

Lakers fans may be panicking or irritated that the team has been pushed to a seventh game, but I wouldn’t be worried. They’ll take care of business on Saturday and leave the Nuggets saying “Nice try.”

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