Dwight Howard ejected for flagrant two, foul to the face of Kenneth Faried. Bad foul, Howard went to the face. And at least a fine coming.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) December 27, 2012
It's hard to tell what went through Howard's head, but the foul definitely didn't look good. Faried hit the deck, although that's the result of many hard fouls in the NBA.
Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell isn't sure what to think about the foul, but he knows what the bottom line is:
Many could interpret that as more of a flagrant 1 than a flagrant 2; either way, Howard's out of a game that has 17 minutes left.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 27, 2012
That's what really matters too. The Lakers and the Nuggets battled all night long. Because Denver isn't a big team, Howard presents Los Angeles' biggest advantage, but he can't help the team from a seat in the locker room.
Howard had 12 points and seven rebounds in just over 27 minutes Wednesday night before leaving the game. He was having success in the post, even if he did only make 4-of-9 free throws on the night.
Faried is known for his determination, and he clearly went to the tin hard on this one. Howard made him pay the price, and that's to be expected when you drive to the hoop in the NBA, but this one cost the Lakers and could cost Howard financially.
There will be divided opinions on this one, but Howard looked like he had intent here. Part of his job is to enforce the low post, and he took that role a little bit too far here. It was a dangerous play, and he deserved to leave the game.
Even if, according to Los Angeles Daily News reporter Mark Medina, Howard didn't seem so sure:
Dwight Howard on Faried foul: "It was a hard foul. That's all I know. It was just a foul. I've been fouled harder than that before."— Mark Medina (@MedinaLakersNBA) December 27, 2012
It's good to see that Howard is willing to do what it takes to keep teams from scoring, but he doesn't hold any value for the Lakers when he isn't on the floor.
If he had done this at the end of the game, that would be one thing. But he missed more than a quarter of the action, and the Lakers don't have any viable replacements for him on either end of the floor.
No matter how you cut it, this was a hard foul. Faried took a shot, and Howard earned the ejection just based on how it looked at game speed.
Faried will feel this one in the morning, and Howard's pocket will feel a bit lighter in a few days.