Many people think Dwight Howard intentionally elbows people in the head. Many people think Dwight Howard is an over-sized man-child who just does not have control of his body. This debate inevitably leads to the questions plaguing people’s minds as they reflect on what transpired last night: is Dwight Howard a dirty player?
My post-game reaction post was quickly inundated with commenters voicing their opinions about various topics, most of which circled around whether or not Dwight Howard’s elbow to Davis’ face was intentional or not. I say, it was both.
The fact is, Dwight Howard knows exactly what he’s doing when he’s throwing those arms around. I have watched every moment of this series and the pattern is undeniable.
Stop me if you seen this one before…
Dwight Howard goes into the lane, gets pushed up on by a Celtics’ big, Dwight Howard proceeds to establish position by “resting” his elbow on a Celtics face.
Or how about this one…
The Celtics attack the lane hard, Dwight Howard helps to contest the shot by throwing the Celtic slasher to the ground- by his face.
What do these two scenarios have in common? If you said they both involve Dwight Howard making gratuitous facial contact, you would only be half-right. Not only does Howard invariably make contact with the opposition’s face, but he does also does so by conspicuously looking in the other direction.
In other words, Dwight Howard intentionally makes hard facial contact while making it look unintentional.
After the game, Dwight Howard was quoted as saying, “Never want to see anybody, especially a friend, go down like that.”
This is a little mind-blowing considering Dwight Howard is known for throwing elbows above the head. Does Dwight Howard think we do not see this? Does he know his games are being filmed, let alone scrupulously combed-through by guys like me (and many more reputable writers)?
Come on man…
The following is a collection of just a few of the “Dwight Howard makes contact with some one’s face, but don’t worry, he didn’t mean to do it” moments from this series:
This is the one that led to today’s water-cooler chatter discussion. You know, the one that knocked Glen Davis out of the game? I had a commenter on my post-game link post say that he attended the game and heard no “boos” as Davis tried to get up but ultimately went down. Listen to the audio from 38 seconds to 50 seconds. I hear “boos” and I heard them more distinctly watching the live broadcast.
The Celtics have earned the “drama-queen” reputation by playing up injuries but the bottom line is that you never know whether an injury’s getting hammed up or it’s serious. This one was serious and booing is classless. An initial eye roll is fine, but booing an injured player is just classless.
Moving on…to another Dwight Howard face contact video:
Please Dwight Howard apologists, give it a rest because this one is flat-out indefensible. The shot to Paul Pierce came after the whistle and after both of them had already landed on their feet. If Dwight Howard doesn’t want to see anyone go down, he puts his hands up. Plain and simple.
People will also say this throw-down is the same as Paul Pierce throwing J.J. Redick to the ground. I say “Malarky!” An airborne player is a defenseless player. The Pierce foul was correctly upgraded to a flagrant and this one…just a hard playoff foul.
This next one is the best example of what I will now call “The Howard No-Look”:
Howard clearly knows he’s got Pierce’s face in his mitt, and he throws him to the ground after the whistle. Dwight Howard says he doesn’t want “to see anyone go down,” a statement that appears a bit misunderstood now. I guess what Dwight really means is that he wants to see everyone go down.
The argument against this example of Howard being a dirty player is that he is just being aggressive and making hard playoff fouls. The only problem is that Dwight Howard is not aggressive. Dwight Howard is immature and constantly lacks focus. Kevin Garnett is aggressive. Kevin Garnett jaws at people, takes extra shots at people after the whistle, and gets in people’s faces trying to instigate issues. Kevin Garnett intentionally elbowed Quentin Richardson right in the kisser and claimed it wasn’t intentional in one of the biggest post-game cop-outs I have heard in a while. All of these things make people believe Kevin Garnett is a dirty player and they may have valid arguments. But the one caveat is that if KG is dirty then Superman is dirty. However, if I am picking between the lesser of two evils, I want the aggressive dirty player who plays the game for the glory, not the immature aggressive player that plays for the fame.
A few months ago, I got into it with Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm (be sure to check out this article of his where he asserts that the Kendrick Perkins’ ejection had no effect on the outcome of the game) in a Daily Dime chat as to whether or not the Celtics were a dirty team. He says they are, I say he’s a known Celtics’ hater.
Maybe we are both right. Maybe there a different levels of dirty. Maybe there is an acceptable level of dirty. All I know is if there is, Dwight ain’t it.