Cooler heads have prevailed —the calling of “respect for the game” technical fouls has calmed down for the most part around the league. Players reined themselves in a little, the refs are giving a little more leeway in an emotional game.
But none of that seems to happen when Dwight Howard is on the floor — he keeps talking and the referees keep giving him technicals. Number 12 on the season came in the first quarter Thursday night when Howard fumbled a ball out of bounds, said something and got T’d up.
Four more this season and he gets suspended for a game. And he gets suspended for a game for every other one after that. Which at his current pace is a lot of games off.
Stan Van Gundy lobbied for his player in the media Thursday, as reported by FanHouse.
“They (officials) are looking for him, no question. They make a call on him and they are looking for his reaction. Other guys get away with stuff. He’s going to have to accept that, they are looking for him. Every one of them (officials),” Van Gundy said. “For other guys, they look away. He’s not going to be treated like everyone else in the league…
“I could probably name you 20 guys in the league who are a lot harder on officials than he (Howard) is,” Van Gundy continued. “Why he’s been the guy to get all the technicals, I don’t know. There are guys that yell at them, swear at them and everything else, and they get away with it some. Dwight just has to make an adjustment, and we’ll go from there.”
Van Gundy said all Howard did to earn a technical Thursday was say “damn” and that other players used much saltier language but were not hit with a technical.
Maybe. There is other context there. But regardless of Van Gundy’s point this is still all about Howard — he has to adjust to the rules, fair or not. As pointed out at Orlando Pinstriped Post, Howard is racking up a technical every 93.1 minutes played, which is not quite Rasheed Wallace territory but it is up there.
Howard lets his frustration get the better of him, feeling he was called for unfair fouls he talks back. He has to control himself, and he is not. Howard has to do it for the team. Right now the Magic don’t have a real back up center (after trading Marcin Gortat to Phoenix) and they can’t afford to be without Howard. Which they will be in four more technical — or about 10 games at his current pace of fouls and minutes.
So complain about the rules all you want — we’re no huge fans of the respect of the game techs here — but in the end this is all on Howard. He decides his own fate.