Fitzgerald Cecilio

Los Angeles, CA

The Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant downplayed reports that he had engaged in a heated exchange with Dwight Howard by posting a staged-fight photo of him and the All-Star center with special participation of head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Bryant, who just recently used Twitter as a social media tool, said the photo he recently posted served as a tongue-in-cheek response to reports that he had exchanged barbs with Howard following their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day.

Bryant added that there's no skirmish or a word war going between him and Howard, saying they are just being professional with their jobs.

"We all try to be professional about what we do, be professional about how we do our jobs," Bryant told ESPN. "I guess some people try to skate around that a little bit."

Meanwhile, Howard said the Lakers remain strong and united despite struggling to live up to their potential as a team.

"We're losing," Howard told ESPN. "Every little story that comes out is geared towards breaking our team up, but we're bigger than that. We're stronger than that and we're not going to let anything divide us."

The Lakers are fighting for their playoff lives for the first time since the first departure of Phil Jackson in 2004. At 15-18, the Lakers needed to play harder in their upcoming games without the service of Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, who are all sidelined with injuries.

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard took a playful shot at rumors that the two had gotten into an altercation








Kobe Posts Staged-Fight Pic with Dwight Howard on Twitter