Dwight Howard suspended one game for contacting official; Bickerstaff fined


In the fourth quarter of the Rockets/Wizards game Saturday, Dwight Howard shoved Nene after the two squared up. The referees stepped between them (as is their job) and in moment Howard swiped away the arm of a referee, contacting the official. That earned him a technical, his second of the night, and Howard was ejected. (Nene also got tossed from the game.)

Players can’t push/shove/touch an official like that, so Dwight Howard has been suspended one game because of it, something first reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and since confirmed by the NBA.

This may seem like a relatively minor infraction, but the NBA (and all sports leagues) draw a hard line when it comes to touching an official.

The Rockets host the Heat on Tuesday. Clint Capella will get the start in Howard’s place.

After that Saturday game (a Wizards’ win), Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff said:

“We don’t like to blame referees. Tonight, there were too many calls that were critical missed and they went the other way,” Bickerstaff said. “There was a phantom Pat Beverley foul. There were our plays getting to the rim. Tonight, the referees had a lot to do with the outcome and it shouldn’t be that way. Referees should be invisible. These weren’t.”

That’s going to cost him $10,000.

Bickerstaff has been around, he knew the price when he said it. But he stuck up for all the “dirty” play against Howard, which is what a coach is supposed to do.