The AP reports:

Kobe says little about early LeBron elimination

If Kobe Bryant was even slightly disappointed to learn that LeBron James won’t be showing up for a possible career-defining showdown, the Los Angeles Lakers star isn’t letting on.

Bryant had almost nothing to say Friday about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff elimination, which ruined the best chance yet for a finals meeting with James.

“I don’t know,” Bryant said when asked what he thought of Boston’s Game 6 victory, before an awkward silence with the phalanx of television cameras and digital recorders pointed at him in a back corner of the Lakers’ training complex.

Surely Bryant realizes the anticipation was extra-high this spring, after the superstars’ teams finished atop their respective conferences with two of the NBA’s top three records. Nike certainly spent many months hoping for the showcase of two top clients, building that unusual advertising campaign around their puppet replicas.

But while James begins his offseason, Bryant is still standing — albeit on a gimpy ankle — after persevering through an injury-riddled year. The veteran star won’t slow down for the Western Conference finals just because King James isn’t waiting on the other side.

InsideHoops.com Says: I hope reporters ask Bryant about this until he gives a real response. I assume he’ll eventually say that he thought the Cavs would go further, but the Celtics are a very good team. That’s the boring, politically correct response, at least. But hopefully he gives something more interesting than that.