Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 12/14/12

Kobe Bryant has a message for all those who enjoy criticizing Carmelo Anthony: enough is enough. When Jeremy Lin led the New York Knicks on an improbable winning streak last season with Anthony out nursing an injury, the media had a field day bashing Carmelo. Many writers, analysts and fans were quick to accuse him of being the problem. Kobe says he’s the solution. “I think last year was very tough for him because he was criticized a lot for shooting and for playing the way he likes to play,” Bryant told reporters after the Knicks beat the Lakers on Thursday, via the NY Daily News. “Then the whole Linsanity thing and everybody said, ‘Well, they’re better without Melo’ and all this nonsense. You guys are all guilty of it. … And as a result, he got a little gun-shy and a little self-conscious about things.” This season, Carmelo has been the best player on one of the best team in the Eastern Conference. He is averaging 27.9 points per game after dropping 30 on L.A. on Thursday night and is very much in the early-season MVP discussion. During the London Olympics, Kobe said he asked Anthony why he is letting what people say about him affect his game. “I asked him, ‘What the hell are you doing? You have to do what you do best.’” Bryant said. “Now, the organization has put pieces around him that have allowed him to be Melo. And now you guys are all celebrating him for things he’s always done. It’s funny. God bless you guys.” Meanwhile, the Knicks’ convincing win over the Lakers improved their record to 17-5 while L.A. proved once again that defense is a major concern, dropping its record to 9-14. Kobe said on Wednesday that ‘Melo is the most difficult player for him to cover in the NBA, and that was evident right from the start on Thursdsay. At the moment, these are two teams that are headed in entirely separate directions.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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