Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry says that he rates Kobe Bryant over Michael Jordan, when it comes to making big shots at the end of the game.
"He's the best closer in the history of the NBA," said Gentry, the former Clippers coach, last week.
Asked about defending Bryant, Gentry said he doesn't like to do anything fancy -- until the end of the game.
"He's going to have to make a shot over four guys," Gentry said, "and I'm not saying he wouldn't make that, either."
Gentry also called Bryant the "most intelligent player in the league, as far as knowing the angles and everything about the game.
"He's great athlete, a great shooter and he can take the ball to the basket."
Pausing for the laugh, he added, "Other than that, he's not that good."
Overall, Gentry noted the Lakers' recent slide, but wasn't ready to declare open season on the defending NBA champions.
"They've struggled a little on the road, but if someone had to beat them four of seven right now, I'm not sure that's possible," Gentry said. "At the end of the day, whatever happens in the West, it's going to go through LA."