Dwight Howard picked up his sixth technical foul of the playoffs last night for “taunting” Andersen Varejao after powering through an intentional foul late in the fourth quarter, leaving him one technical away from an automatic one-game suspension.
Here’s the play:
Whew!!!!!! Are ya’ll as exhausted as I am after that killer game? That was a gut-check of all gut-check games for us and the Magic came through again? What are they gonna say now?
We’re so, so close to playing for that championship in the Finals, but now is no time to celebrate because really we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve won three games, but you don’t get anything for that. If you think winning last night was hard, t rying to close out the Cavs at The Q will be super hard and we know it. That’s a good team that won 66 games and they aren’t going down without a fight.
Speaking of fighting, how about those tackles that Varejao put on me a couple of times during the game??? And I’m the one who gets the technical foul!!!! I was just playing with emotion. You get in the game and you score a big bucket, you let your emotions take over. I wasn’t taunting Varejao or anything. My thing was, it was a tough play, he grabbed me around the neck and I made the shot, so hopefully they will look at it.
Dwight Howard’s role is that of the superstar-in-training. He’s still training, because your all-timers don’t make a choice to wheel back and taunt their defeated opponent after using their skills to top them with a superior move. Especially when you’ve accrued five technical fouls in only 15 playoff games prior to this one, and two will knock you out for an entire contest.
Dwyer has a point. Howard’s celebration may have been a little over the top. But with all due respect to KD, who is one of the best basketball writers in the business, the notion that “all-timers” don’t taunt their opponents after big plays isn’t entirely accurate.
Let’s go to the tape:
Jordan landed, took three steps toward Patrick Ewing and Xavier McDaniel, and proceeded to scream and pump his fists at both guys as they fell to the floor. Jordan wasn’t assessed a technical foul on the play, despite the fact that one official was standing right next to Ewing and McDaniel as Jordan began his verbal assault. Not only did Jordan escape unscathed by the officials, but the incident also failed to make The New York Times’ game recap. It was a non-issue.
My, how times have changed. The footage of Jordan standing over Ewing and McDaniel stands as one of the enduring images of his career. It stands as a testament to MJ’s fire and competitiveness. I’ve seen the clip at least 100 times, and it still gives me chills.
Howard was bear hugged from behind, and yet still managed to score on a crucial possession late in the fourth quarter. All things considered, I’d say his celebration was pretty tame. Howard didn’t stand over Varejao for an extended stretch of time like Jordan did. He looked down at the defender who fouled him intentionally, shouted something into the air, flexed once, and walked away.
David Stern and company have gone to great lengths to clean up the physical play that plagued the game in the late 80s and early 90s, but it’s a shame that they’ve decided to call technical or flagrant fouls in crucial situations for things that were ignored during the NBA’s golden years. Playoff basketball is enormously emotional. We shouldn’t be talking about technical fouls or suspensions. We should be celebrating Howard’s strength and intensity.