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Gentry respects Kobe’s opinion, has ‘no fear’ of Lakers

Despite the national attention Kobe Bryant’s opinion about
the Suns has received, coach Alvin Gentry doesn’t take it
personally and understands his reasoning.

“I don’t have any [ill-feelings] toward what he said,”
Gentry told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo on
Thursday. “We had a pretty good run against them before
they got Pau (Gasol). One of the reasons that I respect
and admire him so much is that he does have that
competitive nature about him.”

Bryant said of the
Suns Tuesday,
“It’s plain and simple; I do not like
them. They used to whoop us pretty good and used to let us
know about it, and I will not forget that.”

The 33-year-old Bryant put down 48 points against the
Suns, marking it the 11th time he scored over 40 against
Phoenix.

The rivalry between the two teams heated up when the Suns
were 19-8 against the Lakers during the 2004-2008 seasons.
During that time, the Suns met the Lakers twice in the
playoffs and defeated them both times, in ’06 and ’07 in
physical battles.

“As I said to the guys before we walked out, it’s a
franchise and an organization that we have great respect
for — we have no fear for them, though,” Gentry said.
“We’re going to be competitive and compete against them,
and they’ve been the best.”

This year marks Bryant’s 16th season with the Lakers, and
he is still considered one of the best players in the
league.

“The guy has a lot of mileage on him,” Gentry said. “And
the way he plays– just with the intensity that he plays–
it’s amazing that he can be playing at the level that he
is now.”

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