Should Dwight Howard Have Been Ejected From Celtics-Hawks? NBA Says No

by NESN Staff

February 28, 2017

The Atlanta Hawks proved they didn’t need Dwight Howard to steamroll the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

But does that mean the Hawks center deserved to get tossed?

Howard already had been assessed one technical foul at TD Garden for giving Al Horford a hearty shove early in the third quarter.

Later in the period, Howard gave a little extra flourish on a putback dunk, letting out a yell as he did a half chin-up on the rim. The refs didn’t like that, either, and hit him with another technical.

By NBA rule, two technical fouls in a game is an automatic ejection, meaning Howard’s night ended prematurely. The Hawks, of course, were outraged, arguing that Howard’s dunk was nothing more than an emphatic finish.

The league apparently agreed. After the game, the NBA issued a statement saying Howard’s technical foul should have been ruled “non-unsportsmanlike” and that he shouldn’t have been ejected, per ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg.

Howard had drawn plenty of attention to himself after his scuffle with Horford, which might have been why the officials were quick to T him up a second time. But it did appear his second technical was unwarranted; we’ve seen many NBA players embellish dunks more than Howard did and not receive a technical foul.

Atlanta would be just fine without its big man, though, rolling to a 114-98 blowout win. Howard finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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