Metta World Peace watched and listened, a bit stunned like everyone else around, as Dwight Howard yelled toward a seated Kobe Bryant, even pointing a finger toward Bryant's face.

Once the storm had passed, World Peace moved into the space between Howard and Bryant, much the way we have seen or done in our own arguments between family or friends.

World Peace certainly has known an emotional moment, but this time he spoke quietly, well aware how this moment was fraught with danger.

That same moment, though, held tremendous opportunity for growth if it could be redeemed — the same as all the adversity we encounter in life.

Redemption is what happened for the Lakers on Wednesday night in New Orleans.

Howard aired it out — and let it go.

Bryant took the heat — and let it go.

Everyone learned from it. (And all the players — no coaches — then went Thursday to see the movie "Lincoln" together in Oklahoma City. Bryant and Howard both went, yes.)

Not only did Bryant immediately improve the defense Howard was criticizing on the court and in that late first-quarter timeout, Bryant was the one who made the conciliatory gesture.

Bryant, one who has been known to pride himself in the past on how long he can hold a grudge, has loosened his vise grip on total control — slightly, anyway.

On this night, he sat next to Howard on the bench in the second quarter, and when another timeout came, Bryant helped Howard to his feet. No, Bryant didn't turn around all the way to face Howard — that would be giving in all the way — but Bryant was clearly reaching out by extending that left arm for Howard to grab.