Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will be suspended for the first game of next season due to his accumulation of flagrant fouls in the NBA Playoffs. The league upgraded the common foul called during Game 5 on Howard to a Flagrant 1. Howard set a vicious pick with his forearm on Golden State forward Andre Iguodala that resulted in Iguodala being smacked in the neck area toward the end of the fourth quarter. The league also announced they rescinded technical fouls on Howard and Andrew Bogut from the second quarter of the game.
The suspension comes at a time when the NBA is losing credibility due to their inconsistency in officiating. If the previous playoff games were an indicator, many fans believed Howard would be suspended for Game 5 after the backhanded blow he threw at Bogut in Game 4. The foul was reviewed, but not upgraded. The upgrade would have resulted in a suspension for one of the league’s star players during a pivotal Game 5 in the series. However, the league had no problem with the ejection of Atlanta’s Al Horford in a pivotal Game 3 against Cleveland or suspending Cleveland’s J.R. Smith for the first two games of the previous series against Chicago.
It is this inconsistency that has many fans like Daniel Amen and the team at goodreads.com scratching their heads. Howard’s suspension comes a game too late and is nothing compared to the impact the suspension could have made. The Rockets will only miss Howard for the first game in a 82-game season after the center regularly toed the line during the playoffs. Houston was extremely lucky in that regard, but will watch the rest of the playoffs from home nonetheless.