With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter in Wednesday’s game between the Lakers and the Nuggets, Kenneth Faried received a pass from Ty Lawson on a screen and roll play, and went down the lane in an attempt to score.
Dwight Howard was there waiting for him, and opted for the hard foul on Faried rather than playing legitimate defense, or attempting to get in position to block the shot.
The problem for Howard was, he went straight for Faried’s face instead of making a play on the ball, and that’s where the contact was made that sent the Nuggets’ most active big man crashing to the floor.
The play was reviewed by the officials, and they determined it was a category two flagrant foul, one that comes with it an automatic ejection.
Faried was giving the Lakers fits, and had 19 points and 13 rebounds — eight offensive — in his first 26 minutes of action.
Howard may have been trying to put a stop to that, but the method he chose was a poor one, and now he’ll await word from the league offense to see if additional penalties will be assessed for his actions in the form of a fine or suspension.
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There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
After surgery tonight, Boston's Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season, agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
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