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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant mocks rumors of infighting with Dwight Howard

01.08.13 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Lakers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northeastern at Drexel, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Clemson at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ohio State at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Notre Dame at Minnesota (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

On his new Twitter account, Kobe Bryant sent out this photo of him pretending to fight teammate Dwight Howard.

♦ On the same day it was revealed that Dwight Howard has a torn labrum and will join Pau Gasol (concussion) on the sideline for at least a week, Lakers star Kobe Bryant tried to downplay rumors of discontent on the team.

Responding to a report that he and Howard did not get along and almost got into a fistfight, Bryant on Monday tweeted a picture of the two pretending to square off in the trainer’s room with coach Mike D’Antoni smiling between them.

“Obviously, there are fake stories coming out, somebody has something against our team,” Howard said. “Me and Kobe don’t have a problem with each other. We’re not beefing. So for somebody to come out with a random story and say me and him got into a fight? It’s ridiculous.”

Said Bryant: “It’s not true. We all try to be professional about what we do. I guess some [journalists] skate around that a little bit.”

The Lakers are 15-18 and in 11th place in the Western Conference.

♦ The Jets made a move to their coaching staff Monday, parting ways with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. A former Patriots backup QB (1978-82), Cavanaugh spent four seasons on the Jets staff, and his contract expires in a few weeks.

There has been speculation that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also will not be retained, following his one season with the team. He has two years remaining on his contract.

Coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday for their overdue season-ending press conference.

♦ ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker, who is serving a 30-day suspension for his racially charged comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, appeared on a Detroit TV show and insisted that his comments were taken out of context.

“It was just a conversation that’s had in the black community when athletes, or famous entertainers or whatever, push away from their people,” said Parker, who previously apologized on Twitter. “And that’s really what it’s about. You saw it with O.J. Simpson, and some other people, where they say, ‘Well, I’m not black. I’m O.J.’ So it’s more about that, not about RGIII and what’s going on. It’s more about this thing that we’ve battled for years and why people have pushed away from their people. It’s more about that.”

Added Parker: “The whole thing is, and I want to make this clear, I wasn’t saying that he wasn’t black enough. And so, when people say that, it’s just not true. I was saying these are the conversations that take place once a guy pushes away. It was never aimed at him, or I was calling him that. I’m saying, these are the conversations that take place.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m going to let you all figure that one out. I’m going to stay out of that. If it was the playoffs I’d tell on him, but since it’s not I’m going to just be quiet.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony trying to confront Kevin Garnett following the C’s victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday night

STAT OF THE DAY: 69 – Consecutive points without an an opposing score in national championship games by Alabama, which put up 35 on Notre Dame before allowing a touchdown Monday night en route to its third title in four years

‘NET RESULTS: During Alabama’s rout of Notre Dame, Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron gets in center Barrett Jones‘ face after a miscommunication led to a timeout, and Jones responds with a shove to his teammate (and roommate). They eventually hugged it out on the sideline.

And here’s ESPN’s Brent Musburger encouraging youngsters to become quarterbacks so they can get a girlfriend like McCarron’s — Miss Alabama Katherine Webb.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Bill Cowley

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Elvis Presley was born on this day in 1935.

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