Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA and there are not many players that can defend him in the paint.
Opponents often use the “Hack-a-Howard” tactic late in games since they cannot find a way from stopping him with the ball in his hands. Howard does not shoot the ball well from the free-throw line and players intentionally fouling him is nothing new.
However, after the Lakers’ Monday night loss to the Phoenix Suns, Howard felt as though the referees were not calling blatant fouls. Howard spoke to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA and he talked about how the referees missed calls during the game.
“A lot of stuff happened in the paint. For me, I just got to do my best and not say anything to the refs. I know it’s hard, but I’ll continue to talk to myself and push myself to leave the referees alone and hopefully they might look down there a couple times. But until then, I just got to keep fighting through it. If I don’t get a call, just keep going back down there and do the same thing.”
“Just continue to play through fouls,” Howard said. “There was a lot of times where they were intentionally trying to foul and they weren’t called. They even said it, ‘I fouled the crap out of you on that play,’ and we’d just laugh about it. But there’s nothing I can do but try not to say anything to the referees and just play through it.”
Even though Howard believes the Suns should have been called for more fouls, he showed maturity by not complaining to the referees. It was a very frustrating game for the Lakers, but Howard made the wise choice by keeping his emotions in check on the floor.
The Lakers will have a few days off before they hit the court again, giving the players some time to rest after their back-to-back. Against the Suns, coach Mike D’Antoni opted to play only seven men, and with Kobe Bryant expected to play Friday, there should be less pressure and stress on Howard against the Wizards.