1.24.2013

It Just Warms the Heart



Bryant asked Dwight Howard if he was bothered by playing alongside him, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the meeting.

Bryant acknowledged he could be "hard to play with," according to the newspaper, and challenged Howard to speak up if he had a problem with it. Howard was "despondent" and did not offer much of a reply, according to a team source.


"The meeting was a team thing," he said after Wednesday's game. "It was intended to stay that way. I'm not going to talk about what was said or what wasn't said. I think that's enough for us to talk about that we don't have to talk about what was said because I think it's something that should stay within the team and nothing should get leaked out in the first place.

"I don't know how that got out. When we have meetings, we should deal with our stuff as a family, as a group, and our family should be tight. If it's not tight, then there are cracks and the situation just keeps getting worse until at some point it will explode."

Added Nash: "I think it's good we got a chance to talk through it. Unfortunately, we come out tonight, we come out hard and then Dwight goes down and the meeting was for naught."

Coach Mike D'Antoni started it by saying he was tired of reading newspaper stories about players questioning his offense or wanting more touches. Bryant and Howard each fell under that category after the Lakers' lifeless 95-83 loss Monday in Chicago: Bryant said the offense needed to slow down while Howard expressed displeasure after taking only five shots.

D'Antoni then told the team to stop worrying about offense and start playing better defense. The Lakers are fifth in scoring (102.6 points a game) but 26th in defense (101.4 points a game).
He then asked players to speak up. Steve Nash went first.

Howard was contrite with reporters afterward, saying he was sorry for demanding more touches two days earlier. The meeting seemed to have affected him.

"It starts with me," he said Wednesday. "I have to be more of a player out there on the court and not worry about anything, not complain. Just do what I do best."

After scoring only eight points on five shots against Chicago, Howard kept telling reporters to "look at the stat sheet" after the game.

"That was immature," he said Wednesday. "I shouldn't have done it.


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