Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko feels like he's gone from the frying pan into the fire.
In the first round of the NBA Playoffs, he had to help guard Houston's Tracy McGrady. Now he takes his turns against newly crowned NBA MVP Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both are great shooters and drivers, but Bryant is just so crafty.
"I had (a) little experience playing against McGrady in the first series," said Kirilenko at Monday's practice in preparation for Wednesday's Game 5 in Los Angeles, "but right now, it's whole different story, even though they're pretty much same players.
"It's different type of guarding, and it's ... it's ... hell.
"Whole time you're playing against (Bryant), you're expecting something," said Kirilenko. "You can't really get close. You can't really give him a space, so it's a game. It's like (in a) casino, I always try to guess, and it's like 50-50 you're going to get it."
Bryant said after Sunday's overtime 123-115 Jazz win in EnergySolutions Arena to tie the series at 2-2 that Kirilenko had played good defense against him. Kirilenko blocked four of Bryant's shots."Well, thank you," Kirilenko said when told of the comment, "but you know like I hope I can stay with your game for a few more games so we can win. I can't wish Kobe to be successful, but he is a great player, no doubt about that. He's really MVP, especially this season, and it is very tough to play against him."