TORONTO – A quiet Dwight Howard didn’t smile as he walked down a hallway toward the team bus. He was ejected late in the second half of the Lakers’ 108-103 loss Sunday to the Toronto Raptors.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Howard said after posting five points on 1 of 3 shooting and two rebounds in only 17 minutes. “Not tonight.”
Howard picked up his first technical with 4:43 left in the first quarter after appearing upset over a no-call over absorbing contact from Raptors center Aaron Gray during a reverse layup attempt. Howard was issued with another technical with 1:18 left in the second quarter after Toronto’s Alan Anderson locked up with him. What did the officials say to Howard about it?
“They didn’t explain,” he said. “I didn’t do anything to get ejected.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni described the incident as a “referee’s call.” But it’s likely the Lakers will petition the NBA to have the technicals rescinded. Howard has six technicals this season, and needs 10 more to draw a league-mandated suspension.
“Nothing they can do now,” Howard said. “We lost the game.”
Howard continuously protested the ejection to the officials without any luck. Soon enough, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash intervened. Howard eventually left toward the entrance tunnel.
“That technical was bad,” World Peace said. “That technical, I think it was a mistake. That’s OK. (The referees) made a mistake. They made a mistake today giving Dwight the tech because the other guy (Anderson) initiated it.”
Several officials talked with Kobe Bryant after halftime about the ejection.
“What’s a player supposed to do when a guy, he’s confronted, trying to walk back up the court?” Kobe Bryant said. “An official told me, ‘Well, he should just walk away.’ I said, ‘Which direction should he (walk)?’ Should he turn around and just walk to the bench? He’s walking down to the other end of the court, to get back on offense. There’s nothing he can do. A guy steps up to him, puts a forearm in his chest, what’s he supposed to do? You say one thing, now it’s a double technical. Now, I just don’t agree with that.”
That was a much different circumstance than when Howard received an ejection in the Lakers’ 126-112 loss Dec. 26 against the Denver Nuggets. In that game, Howard earned a flagrant foul type 2 against Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried.