For 2½ hours Thursday’s night, every non-Lakers fan in a sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena seemed to boo superstar Kobe Bryant.
Roughly an hour after the Thunder’s 100-85 victory and well past local newspaper deadlines, Bryant showed OKC far more respect than he had just been shown himself.
Here are some of Bryant’s thoughts on the game and the Thunder:
- On OKC All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who at times has been heavily criticized: “I don’t know what the media is doing out here, but everybody just needs to lay off of Russell. That’s a bad little dude, man. That’s a bad little dude, man. You guys are fortunate to have him. You guys have got two explosive scorers here. I like how he’s playing. He just has to continue to improve and do his stuff.”
- Does Bryant see any of himself in Westbrook? “He’s got the same type of dog that I had in me – that I still have in me – when I was coming up with Shaq (former teammate Shaquille O’Neal). He’s got the same fight and he’s just 6-4.”
- How has center Kendrick Perkins instilled his tough attitude into the Thunder? “Perk, in my opinion, he’s the best one-on-one post defender in the league. He’s that good in the low-post. That gives them an added presence. He’s also a very good help defender and a screen-and-roll defender. Boston really gift-wrapped them one (with the Feb. 24, 2011 trade that sent Perkins to OKC).”
- The development of All-Star Kevin Durant: “You just have to continue to get better. He’s making great plays for other players. He’s obviously been a phenomenal shooter. He has a developing post game. They’ve got two, three of my favorite players in the league on that team, man. They’re fun to watch.”
- On his verbal altercation with James Harden with less than two minutes remaining: “The conversation was pretty brief. I mean, I was doing all the talking. There are certain things you can’t (share publicly) … Maybe one day they’ll be able to sit at my lunch table [laughing]. Right now, we’re at two different lunch tables, man. That conversation was pretty brief.”