Oct 29, 2014 at 1am UK at ​Staples Center
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90
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31
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23
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Kobe Bryant: Elbowing "part of the game"

Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard (R) of the Houston Rockets clash during the Laker's first regular season NBA game, October 28, 2014
© Getty Images
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant insists that elbowing is "part of the game" after clashing with Dwight Howard in the opening game of the season.

Kobe Bryant has insisted that elbowing is "part of the game" after he clashed with Dwight Howard in the Los Angeles Lakers' opening game of the new NBA season.

Harden caught the shooting guard in the face with his elbow while taking a rebound in the fourth quarter of the Houston Rockets' 108-90 victory at the Staples Center, resulting in a scuffle between the two players which was broken up by their teammates.

The former league MVP told ESPN: "He elbowed me in the face, and I'm gonna let him know, I don't like that. It's that simple.

"It's fantastic, that's the game. That's all part of the game. Elbows are a part of the game. Trash-talking is part of the game. I don't know where the NBA became so sensitive. It's all part of it.

"[Howard is] a teddy bear. You can't help but like him. I really meant that. He's a really nice kid. But you know, when you're competing, you have a goal in mind. I know one way to get there. There's certain times when we didn't see eye to eye, but that wasn't one of those situations."

Bryant, who missed the majority of last season with knee and Achilles injuries, was the team's top scorer in the defeat.

Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets in action against the Charlotte Bobcats on October 30, 2013
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