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Lakers' Bryant, Clippers' Pierce are still around to contend on Christmas

Lakers' Bryant, Clippers' Pierce are still around to contend on Christmas

Long after it became a symbol of their rivalry as they jostled for NBA titles, the same motif works for Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce as their careers near an end.

Yep, the wheelchair.

In the enduring image of the 2008 Finals, Pierce was whisked off the court in the third quarter of the opening game in a wheelchair after sustaining a knee injury. He would return to hurt the Lakers in a Boston Celtics victory that presaged a championship for the Celtics in six games.

More recently, Bryant could have added a red cross next to the No. 24 on his jersey, so frequent were his trips to the trainer's room. His last three seasons ended because of a torn Achilles' tendon, a...

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