Dwight Howard backtracks on promising retaliation on Golden State’s David Lee

MINNEAPOLIS – Dwight Howard expressed indifference toward the NBA retroactively assessing Golden State forward David Lee a flagrant foul type 1 for elbowing him and ultimately requiring him to receive three stitches on his lower lip.

“I don’t really care,” Howard said after the Lakers’ 120-117 win Wednesday over the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It’s late now. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Howard wanted to do something about his remarks where he suggested after the Lakers’ loss Monday to Golden State that he would retaliate against Lee when the teams meet again on April 12.

“I do want to clear it up,” Howard said. “I’m not going to do anything stupid the next time we play to jeopardize myself, to jeopardize the team or jeopardize his career. Even though I felt like the play was dirty, I’m not going to do anything to retaliate but go out there and play hard and do it the right way, which is winning the game and dominating, instead of doing something stupid which could cost me or our team the game.”

After Lee elbowed him late in the second quarter, Howard immediately fouled him and earned a technical for jawing at him. Howard and Lee talked before the second half, though the Lakers center remained upset enough to express further displeasure about the play afterwards.

“He got away with a shot,” Howard said. “I will remember this game. I will remember that shot. He said he wasn’t trying to do it. You can look at the play and see it for yourself. I will take care of it later.”

Why did Howard make those comments?

“I was frustrated, but I wouldn’t do anything, especially to mess our team up at this point,” Howard said. “My team, they need me on the floor, and we can’t afford for me to do anything to mess that up.”

Instead, Howard vows to exact revenge against Lee in a different manner.

“I’ll never forget it, but like I said, the way to retaliate is to let the game do the work and not doing anything foolish,” Howard said. “My teammates need me on the court, so I got to do whatever I can.”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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