The Lakers operate like an antique car.

They boast plenty of nice accessories in scoring (Kobe Bryant) and size (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol). This star-studded roster comes with a hefty receipt priced at $100 million.

The Lakers' 109-95 loss Sunday to the Clippers at Staples Center showed that slick ride requires heavy maintenance. They have a depleted lineup because of persisting injuries to Steve Nash (soreness in right hip and hamstring) and Metta World Peace (surgically repaired left knee). Their veteran-laden roster doesn't allow them to push the accelerator to full throttle, either.

Nonetheless, Bryant played all but the last 39.8 seconds of the game and continued a trend in which he's played a near-full 48 minutes in three of the last four contests.

"I feel fine," said Bryant after posting 25 points on only 6-of-19 shooting and 10 assists, all of them in the first half. "After the last game, I was pretty tired. But I was able to get plenty of rest from the last game until now."

Bryant said he spent most of his Saturday sleeping after conceding the heavy minutes catching up to him in the Lakers' win Friday over Memphis.

"We're playing a little bit with fire and we wouldn't like to," Lakers coach Miek D'Antoni said. "But we put ourselves in the position where we have to."

The Lakers (40-37) are tied with the Utah Jazz (40-37) for the Western Conference's eighth playoff spot with five games remaining. But D'Antoni insisted he'll defer to Bryant.