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Miss the playoffs? Maybe. Miss Shaq? Never.

Updated: March 17, 2005, 11:45 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

MIAMI – It's usually the same conversation whenever your humble correspondent intersects with Kobe Bryant.

More than once this season, Kobe has left no doubt he knows where the Stein Line stands on the Lakers' playoff chances.

"Didn't you pick us not to make it?" he asks.

The response: "Do I have to answer that?"

"That's right," Kobe continues. "You said we had no chance to make the playoffs."

The Line's retort: "I never said no chance."

"Saying ...

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