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Posted at 02:31 PM ET, 08/01/2011

Kobe Bryant on LeBron James’s critics: ‘Lay off that kid’

LeBron James is getting some help on defense from an unlikely source: Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ star thinks critics should back off the Miami Heat star, in spite of how the Heat got splattered by the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

“I think people need to lay off that kid, that's what I think,” Bryant, who knows about criticism that is deserved as well as undeserved, said in an ESPN interview. “I've gotten to know him pretty well, playing with the Olympic team, and I think they just need to back off him and just let him play and let him live his life and let him make his decisions and let him mature as a player.”

Of course, Bryant’s Lakers were knocked out by the Mavs, too. “I'm happy for Dirk [Nowitski]. I'm happy for Jason [Kidd]. I'm happy for Jason [Terry] and all those guys and Mark [Cuban]. They're very deserving of it,” Bryant said. “They played with a sense of desperation that we couldn't catch up to. And when we finally figured out things that we wanted to do against them, they shot the lights out and knocked out us. It’s as simple as that. But we’ll be back.”

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By  |  02:31 PM ET, 08/01/2011

 
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