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Bryant needed despite finger

The Lakers are better off with Kobe, broken finger and all.

Updated: January 25, 2010, 1:15 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

TORONTO -- Kobe Bryant gave his critics the finger on Sunday.

Yeah, that finger.

His turnaround toss from 37 feet away that left his heavily bandaged right index finger as time expired rimmed out, denying him his fourth buzzer-beating game winner of the season, but there's no denying anymore that he makes the Lakers better when he's on the court, nine fingers and all.

Bryant's performance on Sunday should put to rest any thoughts that he needs to rest.

He shot south ...

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