Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol engage in preseason shoving match (VIDEO)

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The first quarter of the Rockets’ preseason finale against the Grizzlies on Friday was far more eventful than the team would have liked.

Early on, James Harden left the game with a knee contusion after being fouled on a three-point attempt by Quincy Pondexter. He did not return, although the injury was not believed to be serious.

Later in the period (as seen in the video clip above), Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol exchanged shoves after Gasol threw Patrick Beverley to the ground following a well-played but obviously irritating defensive sequence.

Both players were assessed technical fouls, although this semi-altercation was clearly started by Gasol’s non-basketball action.

If you were wondering how Howard is liking his new situation in Houston, the fact that he didn’t think twice about sticking up for his smaller teammate here is certainly a positive sign. Had something similar gone down last season in Los Angeles, Howard would likely have turned to his fallen teammate on the floor with arms incredulously extended, wondering why he wasn’t in the proper defensive position.

[via For The Win]