In Nick Young, Kobe Finds Partnership He Failed to Develop with Dwight Howard

HOUSTON — Even on a night when Kobe Bryant was as nice as could be toward Dwight Howard, the reasons why their partnership didn't flower were prevalent.

Bryant, who has some experience in the burning spotlight that being accused brings, might have felt a little sympathy in light of the controversy enveloping Howard with Georgia police investigating allegations Howard abused his son. He was probably appreciative that Howard surprisingly sat out the Lakers' 98-92 victory over the Rockets on Wednesday night.

In any case, Bryant tried to take some heat off Howard, backing off the "You're soft, you m----------r" in-game commentary he offered three weeks ago. 

When asked about those Oct. 28 words upon absorbing Howard's elbow, Bryant said: "Heat of the moment. You guys have all been in arguments. You guys who are married, you guys know how that goes. You argue; sometimes you say things that you want to take back, that you don't really mean. But it's in the heat of confrontation, and sometimes things come out."

Bryant also did not pile on after Kevin Durant told Howard repeatedly, "You're a p----y," in their on-court argument Sunday night.

"No, I don't feel that way. And I don't think Kevin does either," Bryant said. "In moments of confrontation during a game, you'll say things.

"I know Dwight. I'm sure Kevin does. We don't really feel that way about him. It's like when you get in an argument with somebody, you'll say things out of frustration and out of anger that you don't really mean."

So how was it that the Lakers' 98-92 victory over the Rockets was a statement on Howard?

It wasn't that Howard didn't play—even after being in uniform, according to the Houston Chronicle, and seemingly ready to go—because of a right knee strain.

It was that Nick Young did play.

Bryant and Young might never win a championship toget...

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