The Orlando Magic's 50th win of the season could not have come in a more bittersweet fashion.
Despite putting away the Charlotte Bobcats in overtime, Dwight Howard couldn't seem to resist his temper en route to Orlando's victory.
Howard's composure collapsed in the second quarter of the game after he was whistled for a 10 second violation while attempting a free throw. After the whistle, Howard carried the ball past the three-point line and then chucked the ball aimlessly in indignation.
His display of displeasure warranted another whistle from officials who then nailed Howard with his 18th technical foul of the season.
Howard is known for taking his time at the free-throw line so the 10 second violation comes as no surprise, but the technical pinned on him could not have come at a worst time for him or his team.
The acquisition of his 18th technical will force him to sit out the their next game on Sunday against the East-leading Chicago Bulls, due to an NBA mandated one game suspension.
Howard's suspension will force his team to play without their All-Star center as they face-off against Derrick Rose and the red hot Bulls. The Magic certainly would benefit from having Howard handy against the Bulls, who are 9-1 over their last 10 games and are undefeated in their last five contests.
Rose, over the course of the last 10 games, has put on a clinic averaging 28 points and eight rebounds per game, including a stellar 30 point, eight assist game against the Boston Celtics last night.
The Magic are bound to miss Howard's presence on both ends of the floor against Chicago. His absence will force the Magic to play devoid of their big bodied center.
Howard's abilities on offense allow him to size up competition in the post as well as through the air to throw down some awe-inspiring dunks.
Yet, they will also miss Howard when trying to stop the elusive Rose in the paint.
Howard's Sunday suspension could carry consequences that could reach further beyond this weekend and could perhaps impact Orlando's playoff chances. Howard's second suspension of the season comes with only three games left on the Magic's regular season schedule, and it could potentially disrupt the cohesion and tempo that the Magic would like to foster going into the post-season.
Conversely, instead of serving as a disruption, Howard's suspension could serve as a blessing in disguise for Orlando as well. Without their star against Chicago on Sunday, other members of the Magic's roster will be forced to step up in the clutch if they have any hope of taking down the Bulls.
Luckily, Orlando has the luxury of playing at home against Chicago, which will serve to their advantage considering they play slightly better at home than on the road.
Another benefit the Magic have is that their starting point guard, Jameer Nelson, has stepped his game up over the last three contests averaging 18.6 points per game, which implies that he has the potential to provide the necessary spark on Sunday.
Also, Gilbert Arenas is coming off his hottest performance since arriving in Orlando after stacking up a 25 point performance in Charlotte. And though its improbable, Arenas's rare big game could indicate that the Hibachi is heating up and could be in store for another big game this weekend.
If other members of Orlando's roster, like Arenas and Nelson, are forced to step up against the Bulls, it could help them more adequately prepare to make a deep run in the playoffs by refining the capabilities of their role-players.
On the surface, it appears that Howard's lack of restraint could be rather costly to the Magic's playoff hopes, but then again, it could force his teammates to step up in a big way if they wish to take down the Bulls this weekend.
Sunday's game will certainly test the will and resolve of a fragmented Magic roster, but if they can find a way to come out on top, it could be a sign of good things to come for Orlando.