- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- There are several hostile environments on the road that seem to bring out the best in Kobe Bryant.
He has always enjoyed playing in New York and Philadelphia and has taken added pleasure in silencing the crowds in San Antonio and Sacramento.
But one of his top two favorite road arenas is actually his home court.
“When this building turns into the Clipper building, it’s probably my second favorite place to play after New York,” Bryant said Tuesday night. “They do a really good job and have a lot of energy in the building.”
“At least when they play us, the years I’ve been in the league, even when they were awful, it was always a fun place to play because the fans really got into it and it was one of those city rivalry type of games. It’s always been a fun place for me to play.”
Bryant and the Lakers will take on the Clippers Friday night in what will be a Clippers home game at Staples Center. (The Clippers defeated the Lakers in a Lakers home game 105-95 on Nov. 2.)
The Clippers-Lakers rivalry took on an entirely new meaning before last season, when a proposed trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers was nixed and he eventually was dealt to the Clippers. Paul instantly changed the culture of his new team and led the Clippers to their most successful season. And so far this season he’s again been a force, and now the Clips have the best record in the NBA.
“He’s just a moody, little dude,” Bryant said of Paul. “He’s just a moody, little dude. He’s very feisty and he plays with a chip on his shoulder, and I think that becomes infectious.”
One thing the Clippers won’t have coming into Friday is a winning streak, after the Clippers’ suffered their first loss in 18 games Tuesday in Denver. The defeat, which came a week after the Lakers lost in Denver, brought a smile to Bryant’s face.
“I’m glad it ain’t just us that gets our a-- kicked in Denver,” Bryant said. “We’ll be ready to go [Friday].”
1dMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon