Dwight Howard was tossed during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. The Atlanta Hawks big man karate chopped Hornets forward Cody Zeller during a rebound attempt, elbowing him in the face.
Replay clearly showed Howard swinging much higher than would be necessary — or reasonable to expect from an excellent career rebounder — and deemed it worthy of an ejection.
After the game, Howard apparently felt no remorse.
“It wasn’t like I tried to hit him in the face,” Howard said after the game, “but my job is to protect my house at all costs. I am making no apologies for it. I can’t do nothing but live with it.”
Asked if he thought the foul was flagrant, Howard responded, “It’s basketball.”
Zeller — who already broke his nose and played with a protective mask two seasons ago — said he didn’t think Howard’s play was particularly dirty, instead concentrating on the upside with Howard gone.
“It was a huge play in the game because they couldn’t go to him late in the game and we went on a run,” said Zeller.
Charlotte beat Atlanta, 100-96, snapping a six-game Hawks winning streak.