Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard jaw at each other in Lakers-Hornets game

NEW ORLEANS — For far too long, Dwight Howard felt alone without any support.

Time and time again, Howard spoke about the need for teammates to communicate and cover for each other on defense. And time and time again, the same mistakes persisted. Particularly from Kobe Bryant.

So Howard took matters into his own hands and visibly voiced his displeasure about it to Bryant’s face. Another coming of a Lakers dominant center feuding with the Black Mamba? They don’t think so. In fact, both players pointed that as a necessary part of their growth as the Lakers marched toward a 113-87 victory Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets.

“I don’t have a problem with saying anything to anybody, and it should be that way,” Howard said. “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.”

Howard had plenty to say, barking at Bryant for missed rotations. Bryant exchanged words right back.

“That’s just how I lead,” Bryant said. “It’s no different. I was that way when I was 18 and I’m the same way. That’s how I lead. That’s what I’ve found to be successful, at least for me, in my style of leadership in winning championships. That’s just how it’s going to be.”

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