Kobe Bryant is 36 years old and playing 35 minutes per game in his 19th NBA season, so it isn't surprising the Los Angeles Lakers star admitted to fatigue recently.
His competitive drive, however, has kept him going, even if coach Byron Scott may have plans to rest Bryant in the near future.
That seems unlikely to be the case Tuesday night as the Lakers welcome the NBA-best Golden State Warriors to Staples Center.
Bryant often has tried to will the Lakers (8-19) on his own, and may be outworking himself in the process. Although he ranks near the top of the league in points per game with 24.6, he's made just 37.2 percent of his field-goal attempts - and he's taken 72 more shots than anyone else.
He's shot worse than 40 percent in each of his last five games and is averaging 18.3 points while shooting 26.8 percent from the field during Los Angeles' three-game losing streak.
''Obviously, I have had tough moments,'' said Bryant, who shot 8 of 30 and finished with 25 points and nine turnovers in Sunday's 108-101 loss at Sacramento. ''But the thing that I have always found effective is to focus on where you're at in the moment and time.''
Scott has alluded to that place being on the bench for an upcoming game so Bryant can get some much-needed rest.
"It is difficult because I want him out there, and I know how much he wants to be out there as well," Scott said. "(We) talked a little bit about the procedure of the next couple of games and what we feel we might have to do. And he was in agreement with whatever I wanted to do with him as far as sitting him down a game or whatever."
Nick Young scored 26 points against the Kings. He's part of a supporting cast that is prepared to step up if Bryant needs to sit.
"We just have to play," guard Ronnie Price told the team's official website. "We've got to do our job. We've been through a lot of injuries already this year, and guys have to adapt to the situation. We're all professional athletes. We have to be ready to play regardless of the circumstance."
The Lakers have lost twice to the Warriors (23-3) this season despite Bryant's best efforts. He scored 28 points in a 127-104 loss Nov. 1 before netting a season-high 44 in a 136-115 defeat Nov. 16.
It's tough to imagine Bryant sitting out against Golden State, which is coming off a 128-108 win over Sacramento on Monday. Klay Thompson, who had a career-high 41 points in the first meeting with the Lakers, finished with 25.
Stephen Curry is averaging 30.3 points and 12.3 assists in his last three against Los Angeles. He had 12 and 11 on Monday for the Warriors, who have won back-to-back games since having a 16-game winning snapped by Memphis last Tuesday.
"The Lakers are playing better and fighting in games and being competitive," Curry said. "They're going to give us a good punch, so we've got to be ready."
David Lee played for only the second time this season because of a hamstring injury and finished with six points and seven rebounds in 16-plus minutes. Coach Steve Kerr doesn't plan to adjust his starting lineup with Lee's return, though.
"Draymond (Green) has earned his spot, and David has to adapt because we're winning and playing well," Kerr said. "We'll take each game and see where it goes."