Shaquille O’Neal used to complain about the same thing as a Laker — he would get fouled harder and more often than anyone in the league because he was so strong and could take it. He thought a lot of calls against him were unfair.
Of course, if he had knocked down his free throws and made teams pay a bigger price for those fouls there would have been less of them.
Which brings us to Dwight Howard, who is out for the Lakers after aggravating the torn labrum in his shoulder. Howard has a habit of bringing the ball down by his waist and giving other teams often foul him when he does. Hard. And they do foul because he is shooting 49.6 percent from the line this year.
But the Lakers don’t think it’s fair and filed a complaint with the league, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times.
Kupchak, reached by telephone, said, “There’s a protocol to airing opinions or complaints with the NBA. And we’ve done that. The game has evolved and like a lot of other sports where attention is now being given to protect players, the NBA is interested in doing so as well. I don’t know if they will review our concerns, but [hard fouls] have resulted in injury to one of our players.”
Why does Howard get fouled hard? Because if you don’t he will power through and get an and-one chance — Howard is strong. If you’re going to foul him, you better really foul him.
At times those fouls will aggravate Howard’s shoulder injury, but that is not on the teams doing the fouling. These are not intent to injure plays, they are basketball plays. Because a Howard dunk is a sure two points and if you send him to the free throw line odds are he gets one.
It’s not complex, it’s simple math. It is not up to the other NBA teams to watch out for Howard’s sore shoulder.
But if you send in the complaint you look like you have your star players’ back. So you do it. And the Lakers did.