LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant willed his Los Angeles Lakers back up the mountain.
Then he limped off to the locker room with three minutes left, his foot twisted, his left Achilles on its last tendon, hanging by a thread, the Lakers' playoff chances in worse shape.
But Los Angeles survived a 47-point outburst by Stephen Curry -- and a last-second, near-miss, full-court heave -- to stay in control of the Western Conference No. 8 seed with a 118-116 win over the visiting Golden State Warriors on Friday night at Staples Center.
Will the Lakers survive a probable season-ending injury to Bryant? Another matter entirely.
The team announced after the game that Bryant has a probable torn left Achilles tendon and will have an MRI on Saturday morning to determine the extent of the injury.
"I don't have words to express how much I admire Kobe and what he has been trying to do all season long," Los Angeles' Pau Gasol said. "These last 10 days of just fighting for the team and fighting through pain, no matter what, wanting to be on the floor every second has just been incredible."
Bryant exited after hitting two free throws to tie the game at 109-109 with 3 minutes, six seconds left in the game. Already playing on aching limbs after twisting an ankle and injuring a knee earlier in the game, Bryant collapsed while driving on Harrison Barnes, gathered himself on the bench, returned to tie the game, then limped off the court.
"I've never had to deal with something like this," Bryant said. "It's a new experience for me. Obviously there have been a bunch of players that have had the same injury; all I can do is look at them, see what they've done and see who had more success coming back quicker and healthier."
Without Bryant, somehow the Lakers pulled together to escape with a needed win.
After the Warriors briefly took the lead on a Klay Thompson 3-pointer to go ahead 116-115 with 1:24 left, Lakers guard Steve Blake responded with two free throws with 42.2 seconds left. Lakers center Dwight Howard grabbed a rebound off a Jarrett Jack miss with two seconds left, hit one of two free throws, and then Los Angeles watched in horror as Curry's Hail Mary nearly went in.
It did not, though, and the Lakers clung to the West's final playoff spot, at 43-37, one full game ahead of the Utah Jazz with games against San Antonio on Sunday and Houston on Wednesday.
"We can do a lot; I'm not trying to blow steam out, but we are going to get (Steve) Nash back and we have three guys out there that are pretty good," Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We have more than that, but we have three all-stars forever, and we are going to keep playing. We are going to be ready Sunday and fight until the end. Make the playoffs -- that is our goal and that is not going to change."
Bryant left the game with 34 points, but Howard's 28 points and Gasol's triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists were crucial to the Los Angeles effort. Blake added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and the Lakers starters made up for a bench that started 0-for-8 and finished with just 10 points.
Los Angeles benefited from a vast free-throw discrepancy -- 50 attempted to just 16 for the Warriors -- and that helped them withstand Curry's performance.
Curry torched Los Angeles for 32 first-half points and finished 17-for-31 from the field and 9-for-15 from 3-point range. Thompson added 25 points and seven assists for the Warriors and David Lee had 19 points and eight rebounds.
"We scored 116 points, so I don't think anybody's offensive output was a problem, or the way we handled the fourth quarter," Curry said. "But when a team shoots 50 free throws, it's tough to overcome that."
NOTES: The Lakers are still plagued by injuries as Nash (hamstring) and Jordan Hill (hip) missed the game, and Bryant (foot), Gasol (foot), Howard (shoulder), Antawn Jamison (wrist) and Metta World Peace (knee) played through pain. ... Andrew Bogut (ankle) and Brandon Rush (knee) missed the game for the Warriors. Bogut, who exited the team's 19-point loss to the Thunder, did not travel with the team. ... Los Angeles entered the game with a 2-1 lead in the season series after sweeping Golden State 4-0 in 2011-12. ... The Lakers last lost a season series to the Warriors in 1994-95 and had won nine straight against Golden State at Staples Center before Friday. ... Bryant's 47-point performance against Portland was the 120th 40-point game of his career. It was also a Rose Garden opponent record. ... Lee entered the game with a league-leading 54 double-doubles. ... Curry and Thompson both rank in the top three in the NBA in 3-pointers made. ... Bryant entered the game with 1,682 points against the Warriors, his highest career total against one team.