Afterward, Bryant took plenty of playful ribbing from teammate and Team USA veteran Jason Kidd after Bryant tried to call a timeout with 21.3 seconds left -- a no-no under international rules, under which only a coach can call a timeout.
The episode happened after Bryant brought the ball upcourt, came to a halt near the scorer's table and signaled with his hands for a timeout. The referee blew his whistle, then bailed himself out by calling a foul on Kidd, who was defending Bryant on the play.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski conceded after the game that the timeout rule has not yet been explained to the players in person, although they have been given paperwork with a list of the differences between FIBA rules and NBA rules.
"Situations like that can actually be helpful to us because sometimes the best way to learn the rule is by actually doing it," Krzyzewski said. "It definitely added to the intrigue."
Bryant made light of the episode afterward, joking that he actually made a "T" sign with his hands because he wanted the referee to call a technical foul on Kidd for elbowing him in the stomach "like it was a game from the '80s."