During the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson dropped the ball off for Lee, who went up for a shot at the rim, elbowing Howard hard in the face.
Referees called a foul on Howard, who was in the restricted area. Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, he ended up needing stitches to close the wound.
After the game, Howard indicated that he would seek payback against Lee for the elbow:
He got away with a shot. I'll remember this. I'll remember this game. I'll remember that shot.
He said he wasn't trying to do it. You can look at the play and see it for yourself.
I'll take care of it later.
The foul in question was significant, because it was Howard's third and forced him out of the game for the remainder of the first half.
On his way to the sidelines, Howard jawed at Lee and subsequently received a technical. To say he was heated would have been an understatement—he was fuming.
As the video shows us, Howard's argument has some merit.
Lee went up against Howard at an angle, elbows up and with the front of his body turned completely to the right. With the way he approached the basket, it's no surprise his elbow connected with Howard's mouth.
Was David Lee's elbow to Dwight Howard's face intentional?
But was it intentional? That's hard to say.
If I'm the one getting clocked in the jaw, it could certainly be construed as a premeditated cheap shot. From an outside perspective, though, one can also make the case that Lee was simply shielding the ball from one of the best shot-blockers in the league.
Either way, Howard doesn't seem to care. All 265 pounds of him seems hell-bent on getting revenge. I shudder to think what he would have done to Lee in the second half if he didn't already have one technical.
Glass half full, at least this shows Howard can taper his emotions when needed. He opted against retribution in favor of remaining in the game to help the Lakers.
Los Angeles has to take the small victories, right?
Yeah, I guess not.
For those interested, the Lakers and Warriors meet again in Los Angeles on April 12 for a bout that will likely have playoff implications for at least one of them.
Should the NBA just fine Howard now, or should it just wait and see how severe his retaliation is?
"I was just trying to go up and finish against a shot block," Lee said (via Spears).
Sorry David, Dwight couldn't hear you. He was too busy painting a monstrous bullseye on your back.