Kevin Garnett has been the subject of scrutiny lately in the NBA, as his competitive actions out on the court have been called out by players and coaches throughout the league this season.

You would think that ultimate competitor Kobe Bryant, the superstar of the rivaled Lakers, would jump on that bandwagon as well, adding fuel to the flame against Garnett and the Celtics.

Bryant had an opposite reaction to Garnett, however, as the Lakers' shooting guard had only words of praise during the team shootaround at the Garden on Thursday morning, ESPN.com reports.

"He's a great guy," Bryant said. "He's always been intense. He's not an [expletive] by any stretch of the imagination. He's just a good dude. He plays his heart out."

It's no surprise that Bryant feels that way about Garnett, because he too is a trash-talking competitor. But in Kobe's eyes, it's a part of the game, and a part of the storied rivalry that will add yet another chapter at the TD Garden on Thursday night.

"Trash talking is fine," Bryant said. "I love to talk. Paul [Pierce] likes to talk, KG likes to talk. I'm probably the only one on my team that likes to talk so I'll probably be jawing with all of them … It's fun."

Bryant is clearly looking forward to the "fun" matchup with the C's at the Garden, as he went on to praise Boston's home court as well.

"This is a great environment," Bryant said. "This is one of the best in the league."