Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant & Dwight Howard Don’t Have to Like Each Other

Despite everything that’s happened, the Los Angeles Lakers are still gunning for the playoffs, not breaking up their team. For once, Kobe Bryant not thinking about passing worked well, while Dwight Howard with another impressive performance shows it was a wise choice to keep him.

Howard wasn’t the leading scorer, and didn’t enjoy Bryant or Nash, or anyone, forcing the ball to him in the paint, but just facing the Portland Trail Blazers is a blessing for good centers. Howard might not be the most lovable man in the universe of NBA players, but he’s a great center when you just focus on the basketball, finishing with 19 points and 16 rebounds, grabbing 5 on offense as the Lakers beat the Blazers 111-107.

Kobe Bryant had one of his best shooting nights of the season, scoring 40 points on 13-19 from the field, making 1-3 from beyond the arc (2-37 in the last 16 games) and having a perfect night from the line. It was a tad special, this 40 point performance, for more than one reason.

It was Kobe Bryant’s fifth 40 point game of the season, and his first in 2013. Bryant is second (along with Carmelo Anthony) in the NBA this season in 40-point games, while Kevin Durant leads with six. It was also his 117th-career 40-point game, putting him behind Wilt Chamberlain (217 games) and Michael Jordan (173) on the all-time list. Amusing or not, it was the first time this season the Lakers won while Bryant has scored 40.

I had to be a little bit more assertive — but at the same time make plays for my team. I’ve been having off-shooting nights for the last month. We just need to continue to focus and approach every game like it’s a playoff game.

If the Lakers do manage to put all the hate and discontent among certain premier members of the team behind them, mostly involved in ego battles and difference of opinion in how a basketball player should carry himself and behave off the court and while injured, they might give the Rockets a run for their money.

One thing is for sure – Dwight Howard is not a bad thing for this team to have. Kobe Bryant poisoned the well by calling him out in front of everyone, but maybe it wasn’t about a secret meeting that needed to be published in order to set things straight. Mind you, the Blazers or the weary Celtics don’t mean that everything is now OK in Laker-land, but maybe, just maybe, focusing on basketball brings out the best of these players, who aren’t that bad of a group of NBA players, to say the least.

There’s a lot of negative things that take place in the world. I would like to see positive things happen as well. There’s a lot of negativity always going around. I don’t think it’s good. I think as role models we have the opportunities to change the perception, make people have a more positive outlook on life. I just hate negativity. I hate being around it. I hate anybody that’s not positive.