Kobe Bryant reached out to Dwight Howard with a text message on Thursday to insist that part of his interview with Jackie MacMullen had been misconstrued publicly.

Bryant insisted he wasn't questioning Howard's toughness or challenging him to play through his torn labrum.

"Listen, I really think people ran in the wrong direction with those quotes," Bryant said. "And I think that put Dwight on the defense, put him a little on edge. But that wasn't the intention, nor the purpose.

"I didn't say anything earth-shattering. I didn't say anything I haven't been saying all year.

"Honestly, I didn't take a run at him."