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Kirilenko says Durant, Kobe tougher to guard than LeBron

Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) stand during a free throw during the third quarter in Game 2 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Oklahoma City won 77-75. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

AP

Gary Payton said he found John Stockton tougher to guard than Michael Jordan because he knew Jordan would shoot while Stockton could score or pass. That left a lot of people shaking their head.

Andrei Kirilenko used the exact opposite logic when trying to discuss who the toughest players to guard are today in the NBA.

The Nets’ Kirilenko was speaking to the New York Post about the toughest guys to guard and he said Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant over LeBron James because LeBron might pass.

“For me, personally? I would say Kevin Durant and Kobe [Bryant], because they’re very motivated to play with the ball,” Kirilenko said. “LeBron is way unselfish, and he will pass it as soon as the guy is open.

“Kevin and Kobe, unless the guy is wide open, like wide open and ready to shoot, they will keep going at you. They’ll keep going at you. That’s why it makes it harder to play against those guys.”

It’s a matter or perspective and, like the Payton comment, who are we to tell him who he thinks is more difficult?

Kirilenko is going to get his shot at LeBron for stretches on Friday night in a nationally televised game. Kirilenko has missed time with back spasms but is good to go Friday night.

The Nets are talking about this being a statement game for them, the Heat know no statements are made in November.