Did Kobe Bryant try to pit Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook against each other last summer?

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for their highest point total (69) of the season in the Thunders match up against the Lakers on Friday night. Now comes word that there was an additional motivation for those performances; Kobe Bryant’s Olympic smack talk.

Allegedly last summer after the Lakers acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, Kobe made it a point to go after Russ & KD to cause some dissension between the two teammates and get in their psyche.

…source says the Black Mamba talked relentless smack during the Olympics that the Thunder stars weren’t going back to the Finals after the Lakers acquired Steve Nash and then added Dwight Howard right before the U.S. played Spain for the gold medal. Kobe also made a point of guarding Westbrook during practices and pumping him up, the theory being that he wanted to incite Russ to bump heads with KD over who the team’s best player is. (If you think that’s too conspiratorial to be real, you don’t know Kobe.) KD, in particular, got tired of hearing him.

Everyone knows Kobe is a trash talker. But I expect a lot of point guards to light the Lakers up this season. If he did plant that bit of motivation into the two Thunder superstars, it clearly backfired.

Stating the obvious…