Atlanta’s Al Horford was ejected from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals for a blow to Matthew Dellavedova’s head. Agree with it or not with the call (and I don’t, I thought it should have been a Flagrant 1), the NBA backed it.
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.