Howard suspended for picking up 16th tech in confrontation with Haslem


Dwight Howard will have to watch the Sixers’ Friday night game against the Magic from the sidelines.

As expected, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced Friday that Howard has been suspended one game without pay for accumulating 16 technical fouls this season.

Howard’s 16th technical came under somewhat stunning circumstances as 40-year-old Udonis Haslem entered an NBA game Thursday night for the first time all season and, minutes after checking into the action, became involved in a quarrel with Howard. 

Howard and Haslem were each assessed technical fouls. Haslem was called for two and ejected from the Heat’s 106-94 win over the Sixers.

After reaching 15 technicals last month, Howard suggested his reputation was leading to him being officiated unfairly. 

“I have felt like I’m being targeted, but I’m just going to continue to play as hard as I can," he said. “I want all the Philly fans to know that I’m out there giving 130 percent every night. The calls might not go my way, I might seem a little frustrated, but I’m out there to help this team win a championship. Sometimes the refs do give me some calls that I feel are unwarranted, even the technical fouls.

“Last game (against the Bucks) I got a tech and I just clapped. Some things seem kind of crazy, but I have to realize my position on this team and what I need to do to help this team win. I have to make sure that I hold myself accountable and do the right things. I hate that I’ve gotten this many techs. It doesn’t show my character and who I am as a person and a player. So I’ve got to do a better job of that. … When I’m on the court, I’m passionate. I want to win. I came from old-school basketball, so I like to talk trash, I like to hit people, I like to push people’s hands down. It’s not like I’m doing it to be malicious, but it’s how I play. It’s Philly basketball. Can’t help it.”

For the playoffs, Howard’s 16 regular-season technicals won’t be relevant. It seems a good bet that he'll still try to to bother opposing centers. 

“There will be guys that Coach will probably ask me to really agitate and get them out of their game,” he said in the preseason. “And I’ll be ready for it. Playing in the league for 17 years, I’ve been the agitator and I’ve been on the other end of it, where people have been trying to agitate me.

“Whatever I have to do, whatever it takes to help this team win, I’m willing to do it. … And I know that’s a big part for our team, is to mentally destroy the other teams, and it starts with Joel (Embiid) and myself.”

Irritating an opponent likely isn’t worth it if the cost is a technical foul or ejection in a close playoff game. 

“I feel like I have to be smarter, especially in the playoffs,” Howard said last month. “Sometimes they catch the tail end of a play — me moving somebody out of the way or me saying things. So I’ve got to make sure that I keep my eyes on the prize and my mouth shut, unless I’m talking to my teammates, and we should win the games. If there’s any refs listening, I love you. I apologize for whatever it was. Let’s hug, let’s meditate.” 

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