Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard yelled at each other on the court after a Lakers first-quarter defensive breakdown Wednesday night and shortly after it spilled over into the timeout on the bench.
Howard stood to the left of a seated Bryant and pointed a finger toward Bryant’s face to continue the disagreement. Metta World Peace soon came in and took over the speaking.
Twice in a span of a couple minutes, Howard was visibly upset after he moved over to provide help defense against Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez, but no one — specifically Bryant — rotated over to help cover Howard’s assigned man, Hornets center Robin Lopez. The first time, Howard looked back at Bryant with an anguished look on his face and gestured at him after Lopez scored for a 12-7 New Orleans lead.
Three-plus minutes later, Vasquez penetrated past Chris Duhon again, Howard shifted over to help again, and Lopez was left all alone again with Bryant toward the corner instead of in the paint. Lopez scored for an 18-14 Hornets lead, and Howard yelled at Bryant about it — prompting Bryant to yell back at Howard and gesture back toward the other end of the court.
After two recent games Howard has complained about going over to help others on defense but no one rotating to help cover his man. Houston backup center Greg Smith had 21 points Tuesday night in a Lakers loss, and Howard attributed it to that ongoing problem.
Later in the first half Wednesday night, Bryant talked to Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford, who also coached Howard in Orlando, and then went over to sit next to Howard at the end of the bench. When play stopped for another timeout, Bryant got up first and reached back to help pull Howard to his feet.
Bryant also called some plays for Howard to get the ball as the game wore on, including one off an inbounds play that wound up in Bryant passing to Howard, who was called for traveling. Howard let off some steam then and was called for a technical foul for complaining about the call.
Bryant twice in the final two minutes did better sliding over to keep his body on Lopez when Howard went to help Duhon against Vasquez’s penetration. Bryant had 17 first-half points — with no assists and no turnovers — to eclipse the 30,000-point plateau for his career, only the fifth player to do so. The Lakers trailed, 48-47, at halftime, but they got off to a hot start in the second half. Bryant’s first assist came on a hit-ahead pass for Howard to score, and Howard largely owned the third period in building a 77-64 lead entering the fourth.
Bryant and Howard had different analyses about the Lakers’ loss the previous night in Houston, with Howard unhappy with late defensive breakdowns that included mistakes by Bryant and Bryant having the offensive rhythm disrupted by Howard’s free-throw misses.
Dwight Howard on his first quarter shouting match with Kobe Bryant ...
"We move forward. You got to be able to do that – talk to each other," Howard said after the Lakers' 103-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. "That’s why we’re a team, we’re a family. If you don’t feel comfortable enough saying something, then it’s not good. But when you can say whatever you have to say and the other person doesn’t take it as a personal attack and understand that whatever is being said is for the benefit of the team. That’s where we stand. There’s no need for a big discussion about it. It happened and at the end of the day, it got us a win."
And here's Kobe's take on his little spat with Dwight Howard. Bryant
"That’s just how I lead," Bryant said after the Lakers' 103-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. "It’s no different. I’ve been that way when I was 18 and I’m the same way now. That’s just how I lead. That’s how I’ve found to be successful. At least for me, in my style of leadership and winning championships. That’s just how it’s going to be
Edited by Bjork, December 05, 2012 - 08:41 PM.