DALLAS – After Friday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had some high praise for Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
"You’re talking about one of the all-time great competitors that we’ve ever had in this sport,’’ Carlisle said. "When you come up against him you’re looking into the eyes of a basketball assassin, which is basically what you/re looking at.
"I’ve seen that look in guys like (Michael) Jordan and (Larry) Bird going back to the old days. And Bryant is one of those kind of special competitors.’’
The Mavs (9-3) will get a face-to-face meeting with Bryant tonight at 7:30 when they host the Lakers (3-9) at AAC. It’s not a meeting the Mavs are looking forward to.
"You’ve got to brace and get ready and be ready to throw a lot of guys at him,’’ Carlisle said. "And be ready to guard him as a team, because he looks great.’’
Because of a knee injury, this is Bryant’s first game against the Mavs since he scored 38 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out seven assists in Dallas on Feb. 24, 2013. That’s the game where, prior to it, owner Mark Cuban suggested that the Lakers should maybe amnesty Bryant.
After the game, a defiant Bryant used his Twitter account to tweet: "Amnesty THAT.’
On Friday, Carlisle said of Bryant: "He looks physically really healthy. He’s just starting to get his rhythm going and we just can’t let him get going.’’