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Kobe Bryant: Lakers star says 'everybody needs to lay off' Russell Westbrook

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant says the Oklahoma City Thunder has “two, three of my favorite players in the league.”
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Modified: February 24, 2012 at 9:34 am •  Published: February 24, 2012

For 2½ hours Thursday 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 thing."

* 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 playing 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)."

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