Howard ejected again; Rockets rip refs

VIDEO: Wall, Wizards send Rockets to third straight loss

After missing half of last season due to injuries, Dwight Howard seems back to being a part-time player.

The Rockets center was ejected for the second time in two nights as the Rockets lost back-to-back games, this time to the the Wizards 123-122 at the Toyota Center on Saturday. Howard was also not around for the finish Friday night in Oklahoma City. He is now tied for the league lead in technical fouls with 11 on the second after picking up four in the space of just over 24 hours.

Following the game, Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff tore into the way this game was officiated and for what he says is a consistent pattern.

“It’s not fair the way referees officiate Dwight,” Bickerstaff said. “You go back and look at the clip; they initiate contact with him. They grab him. They hold him. Dwight gets punished more than anybody in the league. The referees have to be held accountable. They want to keep the game clean, the referees have to do their job. They can’t over and over again have the same situation.

“At some point in time if you want to protect the league’s players on a night in, night out basis, this crew is no exception. They allow people to hit him, they allow people to grab his neck. They allow people to grab his arms, hold his shoulders. He’s going to get hurt. The reason why he has the back problems, the knee problems, is because people jump on his back, people hold on his shoulders. These referees need to be held accountable for letting people attack Dwight and [be] dirty.

“They [Wizards] are not clean with the way they play. Cheap is one thing. Grabbing somebody’s arms. Grabbing somebody’s shoulders, that’s not clean basketball and it’s not just tonight. If the referees did their job in the first place, it would not have escalated to these situations. And we lose Dwight twice in a row now in crucial situations.”

Howard picked up his first technical with 6:16 left in the second quarter after he had been fouled from behind by Washington’s Jared Dudley as he tried to score. While Dudley was eventually hit with a flagrant foul following a video review, Howard reacted immediately by placing his hands on Dudley’s shoulders and neck area to demonstrate what had been done to him.

Howard’s second technical and ejection came with 8:08 left in the game, when he and Nene tangled under the basket.

“The rulings on Nene and Howard were Nene was initially issued his first technical for wrapping Howard in the upper torso area,” said lead official John Goble. “Howard was then issued a technical for pushing Nene. Nene was then issued a second technical for continuing to taunt Howard after that.”

Nene was also ejected from the game.

“Some of the stuff was uncalled for and it wasn’t basketball,” Howard said. “I can see it being physical. Wrestling in the paint, that’s one thing. But doing arm bars … this is basketball, not UFC. Stuff like that could cause players to get injured. I don’t want that. Just play basketball.

“I would never intentionally try to hurt anybody. So I wouldn’t want people to intentionally try to hurt me.

“Tonight I hurt my shoulder. It popped a couple of times from getting it yanked on in different ways and stuff like that. But I’m not gonna sit up here and complain about it. There’s nothing I can do but just continue to play.

“I wasn’t frustrated at what was going on. But I think some of that stuff that’s going on needs to be made aware of. Guys going around your shoulders and your neck. That’s supposed to be a certain call. It’s called for other people. But when it happens to me it’s like a regular foul. I won’t complain about it, but I don’t think it’s cool. Because a lot of injuries that I’ve had have come from getting fouled.

“I want to play in this league as long as possible. But getting injured because people are blatantly trying to hurt you is not cool.

“I don’t purposely go into games trying to find ways to get out of them. So that’s never in my thought process. I’m just upset tonight that I got kicked out for a reaction. But I don’t know how else to react when you’re getting put in multiple arm bars. Forgive me for being human.”

Bickerstaff said the Rockets have communicated their concerns with the league office.

“Tons,” he said. “Our owner [Leslie Alexander] and Daryl [Morey, the Rockets general manager] have done a great job of supporting Dwight and having communication with the league about he is refereed. It didn’t stop there tonight.”

“We don’t like to blame referees. Tonight, there were too many calls that were critical missed and they went the other way,” Bickerstaff said. “There was a phantom Pat Beverley foul. There were our plays getting to the rim. Tonight, the referees had a lot to do with the outcome and it shouldn’t be that way. Referees should be invisible. These weren’t.”


  1. Dbdb says:

    Absurd. Harden has 100 more free throw attempts than anyone else in the league and the Rockets still find calls to complain about.

  2. JASON says:

    Good players adapt, they use the officiating to their advantage. Dwight got his own self put out for swatting the ref. Looks like he needs to brush up on his conflict-resolution skills.

  3. DisgruntledFan says:

    The officiating in the NBA is horrendous! The refs get together before games and if they’re working a team that has players they don’t like, i.e. Blake, LeBron, Matt Barnes, etc., they decide then who gets calls and who doesn’t; this coming from an ex-NBA ref! I was watching the Cavs’ last game, and I’m a Clipper fan, and LeBron and several other players on the team got slammed in the face, which is above the neck area, and not one foul was called! I also saw the same thing happen during a Heat game. But Howard needs to quit because of a bad non-call foul against him, the Clippers lost their game but the NEXT day, the league said a foul should have been called on him which would have resulted in a Clipper win. Harden gets away with murder as well as many other NBA players, which are too many to name. The refs need to be held accountable for actions!

  4. Birdie says:

    Someone’s getting a humongous fine! Get over it, Bickerstaff – everyone gets screwed by the refs. You aren’t “special.”

  5. bu says:

    Bad officiating surely. However, DH should have kept his poise for the sake of winning. He’s still the person to blame for these incidents. DH’s movement & arms around the hoop needs tutoring. Many smart low post players have thier arms & bodies in such a way that draws tangling and fouls. Lastly, he never improved his mid range game & foul shooting & play like a little kid’s “cry foul” DH, pl grow up!

  6. Armando Ortaleza says:

    I like the NBA. the games. it’s very entertaining, but if the referees are being instructed to do certain things in order to affect the outcome of the game to protect its business interest, then, it’s not entertainment anymore, its robbery.

  7. No fair to Dwight Howard. He has every right to be frustrated and good for the coach to defend him!!!

  8. stephen says:

    nba should have hid the replay, so that nobody will question the errant calls against howard in every game. not a smart move nba. you gotta hide the replay. next up; “bickerstaff receives a huge fine for saying what the whole world sees”

  9. stephen says:

    what a shame that the nba is doing this to dwight. dude did nothing and yet gets ejected for no reason. next thing the league will fine bickerstaff for saying the truth. real big men like dwight is one of the reasons why nba arenas are filled. never forget that. the world is definitely keeping a close eye on this one. what a shame

  10. mjaz10 says:

    Why is this terrible calls not being investigated? It depends on what teams are playing that the games are rigged. If the Cavs are against Spurs, they guarantee a win by giving La Marcus three fouls in the first half,as what happened in yesterday’s game. James rarely ever get calls and he is barely touched and he gets free shots. If any team is playing against the Clippers in LA, they insure a win to keep selling tickets and t-shirts to thousands of fans. The Cavs, Clippers (despite a lack of real talent to be champs), OKC and this year Toronto as they are hosting the All-Star games are getting the preferential treatments. Everybody else are dispensable to benefit these teams. There is only one superstar in the league-LBJ, until he gets old and the league will manufacture one whenever that time comes-about three more years or whenever he decides to do something else and make billions instead like MJ. LBJ has too much power right now, he could get a great coach fired.

    The Game is RIGGED. They know the outcome before the game even starts. It is going to be a back-to-back finals-Cavs and Warriors and the league sells it as a “defending the title for Warriors” and “Revenge for the Cavs” which ultimately just based on talent, the Cavs have no chance.

    The NBA league is not a sports-it is a MONEY MAKING BUSINESS venture driven by PROFITS that the fans are swooped in into believing it is a sports. They dig in to your wallets for a show.

  11. Frank says:

    From the comments it seems a lot of people can see the bias by the “refs”. I feel it has become far more blatant in recent years, they are no longer even trying to look legit. It is my opinion that the officials union, and the NBA League Office, are the two most corrupt professional sports organizations on the planet. Yes, even worse than the Olympic Committee.

  12. mark says:

    to noel u think curry gets preferential treatment then you have not seen many warrior games. he is constantly held and mauled all over the court. its the only way to slow him down so I’m ok with it

  13. Mitch says:

    Yes the refs did a bad job in this game, but it goes both ways. The foul called on Garrett Temple where he fouled out was a terrible call, Harden throws his head back with barely any contact and almost always gets the call. And john wall went in for that layup and harden was blatantly holding on to his arm, that would have been harden’s 6th if it was called.

  14. MT says:

    Ironic that the Rockets complain about the refs since the refs give Harden preferential treatment all the time.

  15. Noel says:

    I agreed 100%.
    People keep complaining of the lack of big men in the NBA but this is due to the bad officiating against big men. Is like the bigger u are, the less likely u will get the calls. I remember Bogut in the conference finals, fouling, grabbing Dwight all the time, no call. I’m a big fan of OKC but the game against Houston was really trash. the officiating was just so bad. what is even more annoying is that I believe OKC can pretty much beat anybody in the league (except GSW) without the help of the referee. People complain about Lebron but I actually think that Lebron doesn;t even get enough calls. There has always been something call “superstar call” in the NBA, Jordan had it, Kobe, Lebron, Durant, Wade,….. Now is curry’s turn, and he does get calls in his favor

  16. Frank says:

    If you think officiating is bad and determines the outcome of the game, watch an Orlando Magic game. ANY Magic game. The officiating is totally biased in favor of selected players and selected teams. In particular the small market teams get beat up in every game, the contact that draws a foul at one is ignored at the other. Look at the Blake Griffin “poster” dunks, in most of them the off hand is holding down the other player. If you are a small market team and one of your guys did that exact play, it would be an offensive foul and no basket. If you watched the Magic\Raptors game in London, you saw the Raptors “win” by three points in overtime, by outscoring the Magic by 18 points at the free throw line. They shot 31 free throws, we shot 8 free throws. The officiating IS biased, and the officiating determines the outcome of far too many games.

  17. George Mathew says:

    These NBA referees are simply trash. If you simply watch the video its clear how poor they are officiating. I am not a rockets fan, I watched the OKC game and it looks like the game was fixed. if NBA has no accountability, there is no point in watching games

  18. Mladen says:

    While the league considered Howard as a superstar, he was protected by referees. After Lakers fiasco, league and fans don’t see Howard as a superstar, so he is not protected anymore. Now, when he is getting stronger and better, potentially superstar better, he still gets bad treatment from referees.

    League should be taking care of all players equally. The level of injuries is getting high and players should be protected. Remember Delladedova fouls last playoffs? No penalties. Things like that need to be prevented – they are bad influence to young players who might start to think that dirty is the same as physical.

    • sam says:

      When D12 was in Orlando he never got calls and almost always fouled out. He would always get hammered and it was barely ever called. Stan Van Gundy was always complaining about it. Even when he was a superstar and I think he still would be if he was included in the offense.

  19. timpson says:

    I agree certain players get calls just like lebron he gets calls because he sits there and cried like a baby

  20. Roy says:

    Rockets… If they don’t foul Howard with force (Dwight Howard can slam the finish).. Mr. Bickerstaff is just being a whiner. Dude this is NBA not playground B-Ball! Play the game.. If you want people to Hack-A-Dwight.. Train his Free Throw percentage! Simple as no one will foul a good Free Throw (even decent FT Shooter)

  21. ko0kiE says:

    he should spend some time learning to shoot free throws…i bet other players don’t foul him that often if he shoots 70%

  22. BHill says:

    Definitely 2 games in a row that have had horrible officiating and significantly determined the outcome of Rockets games. If you look at the 3rd quarter officiating from the game with OKC and then the entire game against Washington, it is unacceptable. The only legit technical foul that would have been called against any other person would have been the one when he touched the official. Nobody else gets calls against them the way Dwight does. Making up calls at critical times in both games (Josh Smith against OKC and then Beverly tonight)!!! Beverly was in front of and running the same direction as Dudley. Ridiculous and I’m about to quit watching games period. Not worth it if this is the officiating that is going to come of it.

  23. Karen says:

    I was at the game and I agree with everything Mr. Bickerstaff said. The officiating was terrible. It needs to be fair.