Dalembert delivered a slight push on Howard while the two fought for a rebound, but after the play had ended, the Magic center reacted violently. He smacked Dalembert across the head and trotted up the court as if nothing was happened. The refs assessed him a technical foul for which he should be thankful, because replays show it as a clear flagrant-two foul, an automatic ejection.
Unfortunately for Magic fans, that means that they will be without their superstar for game 6 and will almost certainly be heading home for a game seven. Without Howard, Orlando has no hopes of beating the 76ers on their home court. Howard brought it upon himself though and has no one else to blame. The NBA made the right call. He should be thankful that the officials in game five didn’t.
Howard responded to the suspension saying, “I’m very disappointed but I have to respect the NBA’s decision” as if he doesn’t think it is the right call. Come on, Dwight. You took a shot at a player after play had been called. It was basically a punch and you connected. Tell me how you don’t deserve to miss game six? You’re statement just shows immaturity that you can’t live up to your actions and take responsibility. How about, “I made a mistake. I let my team down, but I know they can pick me up”. You have “to respect the NBA’s decision”? What is that? That is when they really made the mistake. Everyone knows they didn’t. Be a man. Step up.
Very few people in the NBA dislike Dwight Howard. He’s superman. He’s a big man with a big grin, but childish behavior like this will take away from his popularity, not to mention his chance at an NBA title. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has a history of speaking out against his players in the media, but I don’t expect more here. It’s way too big of a distraction in the playoffs. But Stan, pull Howard aside and tell him the NBA made the right decision and that he has to admit he was wrong.
As for the actual series, Orlando will still move on. Dwight will come back with a vengeance and the Magic will take care of business on their own floor. Howard needs to learn a lesson from this incident though, because if they do lose the series, he is to blame.