You have Kobe still wanting everyone to know that the Lakers are still his team. And though Howard wants you to believe he’s cool with that, he really isn’t.
The Lakers are struggling and after having fired the person they thought was to blame, the ship still hasn’t been righted. So now frustration is starting to manifest itself. This leads to Howard and Bryant yelling at each other about defensive rotations on the court during Wednesday night’s victory over the Hornets.
Twice in the first quarter, 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 near Roger Mason instead of in the paint. Lopez scored for an 18-14 Hornets lead, and although Earl Clark was the Laker in best position to help Howard, he yelled at Bryant about it — prompting Bryant to yell back at Howard and gesture back.
And then, there’s the post-game comments from Howard on the back and forth.
I don’t have a problem with saying anything to anybody, and it should be that way,” Howard said after the Lakers’ victory over New Orleans. “We have to be able to talk to each other. We’re a team. We’re a family. And the more chemistry we develop that way, the better we’ll be as a team.”
At this point, we’ll say this much ado about nothing. But it wouldn’t surprise us in the least bit if it eventually turns into something bigger.