"I believe so, because they believe it," he said. "They believe that they belong on that stage now. Whether or not they can overcome that remains to be seen. But they believe they can."
"When I watch them play, they play with a belief," Bryant said. "They believe that they deserve to be in this championship conversation. They’re playing with a conviction that wasn’t there before."
Bryant was asked if Anthony belonged in the early-season MVP conversation.
"Oh, for sure. Is that even a question? I don’t think that’s a question," Bryant said.
D'AN WILL BE DETERMINED AT MSG: Bryant is normally the headline act at the Garden, but that won't be the case Thursday night.
The bigger story is the return of Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to Madison Square Garden for the first time since he resigned as Knicks coach last March.
Bryant believes D'Antoni will be determined to walk off the Garden floor with a win.
"We’re stepping into a city that was very stressful for him. [He] left on a sour note. So I’m sure he has a lot of determination to win this ballgame," Bryant said. "And we have the determination to win a ballgame."
The Lakers are 4-8 under D'Antoni. The Knicks are 34-11 in the regular season since Mike Woodson took over the team.
TICKETS AREN'T CHEAP: According to the website Tiqiq.com, which tracks ticket prices on the secondary market, tickets for Knicks-Lakers on Thursday are astronomically priced.
The current average ticket price is $567.01, which ranks as the fourth-most expensive game in the NBA this season. The average price for this game is 71.57 percent above the Knicks' cumulative home average ticket price of $330.48. The highest-priced ticket listed is in VIP Courtside 12 Row AA for $26,000.