Lakers center Dwight Howard has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for knocking Denver forward Kenneth Faried to the floor in the Lakers’ loss Wednesday to the Nuggets.
Howard, who’s making $19.5 million this season, won’t serve any suspension and will suit up when the Lakers (14-15) host the Portland Trail Blazers (14-13) Friday at Staples Center. Although Kobe Bryant called Howard’s flagrant foul type 2 and immediate ejection the “right call,” the Lakers strongly argued Howard didn’t warrant a suspension.
“I shouldn’t get penalized for fouling somebody hard,” Howard said. “My intentions weren’t to hurt anybody. It was just a hard foul. I’ve been fouled harder and nothing has happened. They can’t put me on a different scale because I’m a strong guy. A foul is a foul.”
The NBA cited Howard’s “excessive contact with Faried above the shoulders” that caused him to fall to the ground with 5:02 left in the third quarter. When Howard was in the air, he pushed Faried’s face.
Howard has collected three flagrant fouls and has accumulated “four points” under the NBA’s flagrant foul policy. Should he earn another flagrant foul type 2, Howard would receive an immediate suspension.
According to the NBA rulebook, the league issues such punishment depending on a number of variables. The NBA measures the severity of the contact, whether it’s considered a “basketball play”, whether the player committed the foul with his arm or hand, the potential for injury, the severity of any injury the offended player suffered and whether it led to an altercation.
Nuggets coach George Karl questioned Howard’s motives.
“I thought [Howard] went intentionally to endanger [Faried],” Karl said. “It looked like [Faried] was pretty stunned after that and I thought it was a good call from where I was.”
Meanwhile, Faried believed Howard’s foul reflected his overall frustration after posting only 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Faried’s 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 15 rebounds far exceeded the Lakers’ energy.
“He was just mad,” Faried said of Howard. “I was getting in his head and he couldn’t get the rebound. He wanted to, but I kept calling every rebound. It’s not like I said anything, or talked to him. I just play.”
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