Unlike the last time Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard met on the court, there were no fireworks Saturday night in the Houston Rockets’ 126-97 blowout of the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

With Kobe on his way out of the NBA, both stars insist that there’s no more animosity between them.

Bryant has no regrets about having pushed the big guy’s buttons during their lone, disastrous season together in Purple and Gold.

Per the LA Daily News:

But amid his 20th and last NBA season, Bryant offered some détente. Before and after the Lakers’ 126-97 loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday at Toyota Center, Bryant and Howard briefly exchanged hugs. […] “It’s not personal,” Bryant said. “You have to let that stuff go.”

 

Bryant also insisted his tension with Howard stemmed from the 2012-13 season is getting old, too. […] “We’ll always be fine. My responsibility when Dwight and I played together was to get him to play his best basketball,” Bryant said. “That involves sometimes pushing buttons when guys don’t necessarily appreciate it at the time. As a leader, that’s your job and that’s your responsibility. It’s nothing personal. You just try to get the best out of him even if they don’t find the humor in that at the time.”

 

Howard became irritated both with recent back surgery and Bryant’s stern personality. Bryant became annoyed with Howard’s more laid-back approach toward the game. So Lakers forward Metta World Peace sensed Howard had no plans to stay with the Lakers. Howard soon agreed to a four-year, $88 million deal with Houston instead of a five-year, $118 million contract he could have signed with the Lakers. […] “He didn’t want to play there. I don’t think Dwight wanted to play with Kobe,” World Peace said. “That’s not a bad thing. He wanted a chance to win. He didn’t feel he was going to have a chance to win with Kobe.”