In an interview that aired Thursday on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Kobe Bryant recognized Tony Allen was the closest thing to a Kobe Stopper he’s seen in the NBA.
He also mentioned Bruce Bowen, Raja Bell and Ruben Patterson as players who gave him trouble, so we took a look at how he fared statistically in matchups against all those.
Numbers do seem to support Bryant’s assertion that Allen was the toughest matchup of the group. A career 45 percent shooter in the regular season and 44.8 percent shooter in the playoffs, Kobe saw his percentages drop significantly when faced with Allen’s teams. That was not the case with Bowen’s Spurs in the postseason, although that may have something to do with the fact that Bryant played three of his four playoff series vs. San Antonio with a commanding offensive presence like Shaquille O’Neal on his side.
One thing is for sure about Bryant and Allen: Respect is mutual.