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Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant exchange shoes, praise after Lakers' loss

Durant and Kobe had some kind words for each on Wednesday night.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have long seen each other as kindred spirits, with the elder Bryant acting as an occasional mentor (and dinner companion) to the younger superstar, and Durant having Kobe's back in the face of what he saw as an unfair amount of media criticism of Bryant's poor play earlier this season.

This friendliness did not stop Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder from running Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers off of the floor in a 120-85 blowout loss on Wednesday night. Kobe was able to turn back time in the second quarter of the contest, going 5-8 (2-14 the rest of the game) in a duel with Thunder's dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Durant, but the two led a 22-0 OKC run to begin the third quarter that ended any semblance of competitiveness between the teams.

Bryant accepted the loss (with a strange analogy) after the game, and both he and Durant were in a good mood after the game, with each offering glowing praise of the other one and even exchanging shoes:

And it sounds like going up against Durant has motivated Bryant to start taking tougher defensive assignments moving forward:

Durant expressed a fondness for being able to be friendly with Bryant but still compete at the highest level:

And for an example of what the two "going at each other" sounds like, Bryant offered this:

It's good that Bryant does not feel too bad about those blocks, because they were not even the highest profile blocks of a Los Angeles based guard Durant has had this week:

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