The Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night, as the team fell to the Denver Nuggets, 126-114. However, the game wasn’t notable for the outcome as much as Dwight Howard’s out-of-character actions.
Trailing by a slight margin in the third quarter, Howard decided that he’d rather foul than let up an easy bucket, but this was no ordinary touch foul.
The superstar center decided to channel his frustrations into a two-handed shove to the chest of Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried. While no one was hurt on the play, it was dangerous and Howard made no attempt to play the ball.
More telling, the refs initially labeled the infraction a Flagrant 1, but upgraded it to a Flagrant 2 after immediate review (finding it malicious and worthy of an ejection).
Most Lakers fans won’t agree with this decision, and Howard wasn’t supportive of it either.
According to Cindy Boren of The Washington Post, the big man had this to say about the incident:
My intention was never to hurt Faried. I like the young fellow and my intention was just to foul. I come down the lane, somebody is going to foul me hard, put me on the free throw line and make me shoot free throws. It was the same kind of thing.
Howard certainly made it hard for the second-year PF to get an easy dunk, but he used a defensive tactic that is more fitting for the streets than the professional game.
There’s no place for that kind of defense in the NBA and the refs made the right call to nip it in the bud by ejecting the league’s premier center.
Will Howard be further punished for this foul?
After winning five straight games, the Lakers seemed to be skyrocketing toward the top of the standings. This loss puts the franchise at 14-15 and it remains to be seen if the league office will take further action against Howard.
The last thing L.A. needs is to have one of its best players involuntarily sidelined as it attempts to claw back up above .500.
We’ll keep you updated right here with any further news concerning this foolish act by Dwight Howard.