Byron Scott perfectly described the existing relationship between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.

“They don’t like each other,” the Los Angeles Lakers coach said after his team dropped its season opener to the Houston Rockets. “It’s as simple as that.”

Bryant and Howard, who were teammates in L.A. during the 2012-13 season, exchanged words in the fourth quarter Tuesday night. It stemmed from an elbow that Howard dished out while delivering an outlet pass from under the basket, though it’s reasonable to wonder if there’s a little more to the beef.

Bryant and Howard didn’t exactly seem on the same page during the big man’s one-year stint with the Lakers, and him bolting for the Rockets as an unrestricted free agent probably didn’t help their relationship, either. Bryant downplayed any ill will after Tuesday’s game, however, while Howard was unwilling to say much about the altercation.

“Trash-talking is part of the game,” Bryant told reporters in Los Angeles. “I don’t know when the NBA became so sensitive. … He’s a teddy bear. You can’t help but like him. But when you’re competing, you have a goal in mind.”

Both players received double technicals for their dust-up. The highlight of the squabble was Bryant calling Howard “soft” upon returning to the Lakers’ bench.

This probably isn’t over.