The words might have stung, but Dwight Howard didn't allow it to hurt him.

Instead, Kobe Bryant's confrontation with him in an air-it-out meeting last week gave Howard a new perspective on how he should play.

"I love it," Howard said. "That's something we needed. A lot of times we have a lot of guys come together and nobody wants to step on anybody's toes. We want to win. In order for us to win, we have to pull the best out of each other every night."

The Lakers (19-25) will try to do that in tonight's game against the New Orleans Hornets (15-29) with a two-game winning streak featuring myriad roles that Bryant describes as "upside-down." Bryant has gone from shooter to passer. Steve Nash has gone from passer to shooter.

"I was probably born a scorer," Bryant said, "but I was made a winner."