Can Intense Kobe Bryant and Carefree Dwight Howard Co-Exist on the Lakers?

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIFebruary 16, 2013

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 7: Kobe Bryant #24 and Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on following a foul against the Boston Celtics during the game on February 7, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers did not exactly go into the All-Star break on a high note. In fact, they were flat-out throttled by the Los Angeles Clippers as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led the way to a 125-101 victory.

Clearly, the Clippers are a team that is at the top of Western Conference while the Lakers will be very fortunate to make the playoffs. If the Lakers are going to achieve a spot in the postseason, they will need to make up a reasonable amount of ground after the break.

After the crushing loss, Kobe Bryant was obviously upset. This is to be expected, as a player with Kobe’s drive does not take losing well, particularly when the loss is a blowout at the hands of the crosstown rival.

What was Dwight Howard doing after the game? Apparently, joking around with members of the Clippers. This did not make Kobe happy, assuming he was referring to Dwight in his comments after the game.

As tweeted by Dave McMenamin of Time Warner Cable:

Kobe not naming names, but ... "After we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can’t be laughing and joking around"

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 15, 2013

It is fairly clear that Dwight Howard is never going to have the same personality as Kobe Bryant. Dwight is a fun-loving guy who enjoys joking around and being upbeat. This isn’t to say that Howard can’t be intense on the court. He has proven throughout his career that he is capable of being an impact star, particularly on the defensive end.

Still, Bryant is a unique individual who has that special kind of intensity that is possessed by a select group of athletes. It gives him focus, but it also causes him to never be satisfied.

After the loss, Kobe was upset, and this disgust will fuel him going forward. Dwight is not that way. He is going to deal with the loss by smiling, joking and not letting it get to him. At least, that is the impression that he projects. Is it any wonder that these two players have not exactly been on the same page this season?

Does Dwight care about winning? If he doesn’t, he is never going to admit it to anyone.

One has to wonder how some of these players process their professional existence. Is is possible that Dwight recognizes the unique privilege of getting paid big bucks to play basketball for a living? Perhaps this is why he does not appear to get worked up after a big loss.

Of course, Dwight may not be planning on sticking around Los Angeles anyway. Therefore, why stress about losing?

Obviously it is important to remember that people express their frustration in many different ways. Howard may take losing just as personally as Bryant, but his expression may include different emotions.

There is still the issue of Dwight’s health, and the fact that the talented center may not be playing at 100 percent. Would Kobe be more tolerant of a little more joking around if the Lakers were winning more games?

It seems reasonable to assume that Kobe Bryant is not going to suddenly become a laid-back, fun-loving guy. Nor is Dwight Howard going to transform into a focused, rip-the-heart-out-of-the-opponent assassin. These guys have to figure out a way to appreciate their unique approaches to the game.

Otherwise, this is just going to get worse. Bryant will get angrier. Howard will tell more jokes.

The Lakers will keep losing...ugly.