Dwight Howard avoided a flagrant 2 – and the suspension that would have come with it – for elbowing Andrew Bogut in the face.
But Howard and Bogut were hit with double technical fouls in Game 5, and Howard is once again in danger of being suspended.
This was Howard’s seventh technical of the playoffs, which triggers a one-game suspension and $5,000 fine. That’d be for Game 6 if the Rockets win tonight – which seems unlikely considering their 52-46 halftime deficit at Golden State – or his first healthy regular-season game year season if Houston is eliminated.
But that looked like a pretty weak technical. I expect the NBA to rescind it – especially if there’s a Game 6.
NBA: No Game 5 suspension for Dwight Howard, flagrant-1 for hit on Andrew Bogut stands as called
The NBA’s review of Dwight Howard’s contact with Andrew Bogut concluded that it did not rise to the level of excessive because Howard was trying to free himself from a tie-up with Bogut, president of basketball operations Rod Thorn told CBSSports.com Tuesday.
“It was a very close call as far as I’m concerned,” Thorn said. “As Bogut is holding his arm down, Howard tries to extricate his arm. He doesn’t hit him with his elbow, by the way. He hits him with the back of his hand, maybe a touch of the wrist. To me, it was unnecessary, but I didn’t think it was excessive.” …
“Having been here forever and having done this stuff for a long time, I just try to look at each situation as it comes up,” Thorn said. “Obviously, we have all of the information from everything we’ve ever done before, plus tape and video of everything we’ve done before to fall back on. As far as the name of the player, I’ve never let that enter into it.”
This was extremely similar to the hit Smith was suspended for, but evidently, the league saw it differently.
The fact that Howard will be available for Game 5 is good news for Rockets fans, but most everyone else will view the ruling as being extremely inconsistent.
PBT Extra: Will Dwight Howard’s foul on Bogut be upgraded to a Flagrant 2? Should it?
I would like to not be cynical about this and say this decision was about what happened on the court and not making sure a star and key player for the Rockets is available for Game 5, but these kinds of decisions make it impossible.
3:59 pm: The NBA finds itself in the middle of differing interpretations of the same rule.
On one hand, you have Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks being ejected after throwing The People’s Elbow on Matthew Dellavedova in the Eastern Conference Finals. In this case the officials ruled that: 1) The foul that preceded the elbow (with Dellavedova rolling into Horford’s knee) should not factor in the decision; 2) The blow to the head meant and automatic ejection.
Then in Game 4 of the Warriors and Rockets, Andrew Bogut fouls Dwight Howard with a two-hand shove and Howard responds with an elbow/arm fling to get Bogut off him that ends up connecting with Bogut’s head. Howard got a Flagrant 1 foul and stayed in the game.
For me, both fouls should have just been a Flagrant 1, no way Horford should have been ejected, but that does not mean up upgrade Howard’s foul.
But will the league do that? If this becomes a Flagrant 2 for Howard he will have exceeded the NBA’s technical foul points limit for the playoffs and will be suspended a game. Would the league really upgrade a foul and bench a star player in an elimination game?
Never say never, but I would be surprised.
That said, this speaks to the need for more consistency of calls, particularly on flagrant fouls (and fines for that matter, both feel more like roulette than a system).
If NBA upgrades’ Dwight Howard’s blow to Bogut to a Flagrant 2, Howard will be suspended for Game 5
Based on that Al Horford precedent, Dwight Howard should have gotten a Flagrant 2 and ejected for that blow to Andrew Bogut’s head in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Monday. He wasn’t, he got a Flagrant 1.
Here’s what should worry Rocket fans (and Kevin McHale):
The NBA will review that flagrant foul, as they do all of them, and they may upgrade it to a Flagrant 2 after the fact.
And if that happens, Howard would be suspended for Game 5 Wednesday in Oakland.
The NBA has a point system, and if a player picks up more than three points for flagrant fouls in the playoffs, he gets suspended for a game. Howard already has two points for two Flagrant Fouls earlier in the postseason, and a Flagrant 2 would be worth two points.
Go ahead and argue if you want Rockets fans. If you watched the Howard/Bogut video above and said “but Bogut fouled Howard first” you’re right. It also doesn’t matter, according to referee Kenny Mauer who made the call on Horford. He said Sunday the fact the blow was retaliation for a play where Dellavedova earned a technical was irrelevant. Mauer also said the blow to the head gave him no choice but to make the call to toss Horford.
If what Horford did merited a Flagrant II and an ejection, Howard should have gotten one as well. It will be interesting to see how the league handles this one.
Dwight Howard elbows Andrew Bogut in the face, assessed Flagrant 1 (VIDEO)