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Kobe Bryant: Carmelo Anthony, not LeBron James, hardest player to guard

Kobe Bryant said Carmelo Anthony is the hardest player in the league for him to guard. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Kobe Bryant said Carmelo Anthony is the hardest player in the league for him to guard. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony's reputation as one of the most gifted players offensively just got a ringing endorsement from a guy who knows a thing or two about scoring.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said this week that Anthony, currently in the midst of an MVP-type season as he leads the new and improved Knicks to the top of the Eastern Conference, is the hardest player for him to guard. The comments are a slight, perhaps, to Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who has no doubt taken his game to the next level by winning his first NBA championship last season.

The comments come just as Bryant and his struggling Lakers take their talents to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night with the hopes of handing the Knicks their first home loss of the season. According to The New York Post, citing an interview Bryant had with ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith, Carmelo Anthony is an absolute "bull" for Bryant to defend but nonetheless, a fun challenge:

The Lakers star said Anthony, the Knicks’ MVP candidate, is the “most difficult” guy for him to guard in the league, even harder than LeBron James, he told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Tuesday.

“For me?” Bryant said. “Yeah….”

“I’m [180 pounds] soaking wet,” said Bryant, who is Melo’s teammate on Team USA. “Going up against that bull, it’s fun, but it’s hard.”

Bryant added that the Knicks deserve to be in the conversation of championship-caliber teams this season. The Knicks, currently 8-0 at home, host the Lakers on Thursday evening as Los Angeles tries to break out of its current slump, struggles that Bryant call "baffling."
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