It wasn’t intentional, but the referees try not to judge intent.
Dwight Howard was simply going for a rebound in the middle of the fourth quarter Friday night in Charlotte, doing so he put his arm out to box out Cody Zeller — and he elbowed Zeller in the face. Zeller hit the ground; Howard eventually fell over him.
After the play was reviewed by the officials, Howard was given a flagrant 2 ejected. By the letter of the law, it’s the right call (the NBA is very protective of blows to the head), but it’s a tough one to swallow. Howard isn’t going to get a fine for this one, nor should he.
The Hawks were outscored by seven points after Howard went out and eventually lost the game to Charlotte 100-96. However, that wasn’t really about Howard, it was more about Kemba Walker going off for seven straight points in one stretch to put the Hornets back in front. It also was about the Hawks shooting 3-of-17 in the fourth quarter. That’s a quality win for Charlotte.