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NBA Playoffs: Celtics Magic: Dwight Howard dares to push back, Boston fans incensed

May 28, 2010, 1:28 PM EDT

Howard_Pierce.jpgUPDATE 1:28 pm: Magic coach Stan Van Gundy agrees with us. Of course he does, he’s a smart man. These were his comments today at shootaround, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

“You know, it’s so funny the way things go, because we went down 0-3
and a lot of you guys were calling us ‘soft’ and everything else. Now
we’re like ‘bullies.’ So, I don’t know what we are. You guys change from
day to day….

“Look, the Celtics are far more physical than we are.
I mean, they push, shove, hit. They’ve been going after Dwight all
year. They always do. It’s part of their game plan, OK? And they always
do. I’m not saying dirty at all. That’s the way Kendrick Perkins plays
him: hit him, hit him, hit him. They’re a very physical team, and I
respect that. I’m not saying that as a negative at all. But all of the
sudden, what, they’re the ‘poor, picked-upon Boston Celtics, who are a
finesse team and don’t hit?’ Come on.”

11:38 pm: For three seasons now, the Boston Celtics have been a team that tries to intimidate. They are physical. Kevin Garnett gets in your face and claps and barks. Kendrick Perkins pushes people around in the paint. As a team they hook and hold and grab and clutch.

Dwight Howard has pushed back this series. Hard. And the Celtics fans don’t like that one bit.

Take Ron Borges column in the Boston Herald calling for Dwight Howard to be put in his place.

Far be it from me to advocate gratuitous violence, but in the case of the Magic’s elbow-swinging cheap-shot artist, two words come to mind: Why not?

Playing hard, banging bodies, pushing and shoving to gain position are all well and good. In those cases, Howard is just establishing himself in the post in the way it’s done these days.

It’s quite another thing indeed to “accidentally” flatten Pierce in consecutive games, to “accidentally” leave Davis staggering around Amway Arena like a guy who just was drilled by a Mike Tyson combination, and to “accidentally” level Rajon Rondo [stats] when he drives with everything but an ax handle.

My mom is a wise woman, and one of her favorite phrases — don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

Dwight Howard has pushed back. Howard has been physical but things like the play to Davis were incidental. He gets in and mixes it up and sometimes people get hurt. This is not some no-contact, fifth-grade YMCA game, this is the Eastern Conference Finals. This is a physical series, stop whining and go play. Fans — act like men ad expect your team to do the same. Don’t bring up the vision of Kevin McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis if you can’t take it, too.

The Celtics have been physical and knocking teams around as much as they could for years. If they want to win this series — and they had better do that tonight — they need to forget about petty justice and play like men. Take the physical play, hold their ground and get those loose balls. Because you know Dwight Howard and the Magic will.

  1. Nol - May 28, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    He’s calling for Howard to be injured. He’s calling for “frontier justice”. The comments over there are filled with Boston fans calling for it as well.
    I don’t quite know how to digest this. This is about as bad as journalism gets. Boston is clearly letting their stress compromise their morals. This kind of journalism can not be tolerated. I’m all for free speech – but “frontier justice”? Really? Stay classy Boston.

  2. NordicBeast - May 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    First of all I am a huge C’s fan. But I dont agree with calling for “frontier justice” that is not how the game should be played. Second of all Howard is not just being physical and establishing position, he is keeping his elbows high and swinging his arms out on a lot of plays. Sure the C’s are physical, but you dont see too many opposing players laid out by their play, where as in this series the C’s are getting put on the floor repeatedly. I am all for some enforcing in the paint, but you dont enforce through physically beating up on players and putting them down. You have to agree that if VC, Jameer and the rest of the Magic were getting hit the way the C’s are that you would cry foul and want retribution. It is not appropriate to call for Howard to get hurt, that would be punk ball, but there is a problem when Howard gets away with knocking the sense out of people (Ex:Big baby. Intentional or not Howard is swinging through and laying people out, and that is a flagrant foul), and Perk gets called for a touch foul, both teams should get fouls called the same way, and that just did not happen in game 5. I also think(and would think this way if the tables were turned) that if Howard wants to send that message he(as well as the rest of the magic) should be prepared to have that message sent right back to them.

  3. Chownoir - May 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I guess Rondo knocking players on their head from behind last year when he got beat and sending them to the floor was different. That wasn’t laying people out on the floor.

  4. WinDelRoj - May 28, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Dwight wasnt even looking in Davis’ direction when that happened and was already turning to run up the court as it happened. Should he really be apologizing that he is as big as he is? Funny that play keeps getting thrown out there considering Nate fouled him and it was a no call. Dwight Howard is 285 lbs, if you think that bumping into him or getting hit accidentally isnt going to look like you just got shot then you are nuts. Boston is getting a taste of their own medicine. Except its only 1 guy in orlando that is hitting them back. Did Boston forget Rondo karate chopping Brad Miller with no flagrant called? Then the next game throwing Hinrich into the scorers table. 4 letters for the C’s fans… STFU

  5. tre - May 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Dwight already gets beat up when he is in the low post. Boston players beat him on the shoulders and head to make him shoot FT’s. They “barely” go for the ball, but do their best to make sure he cant shoot the ball. And now that he gets physical back, they want to whine and cry. Makes me laugh.

  6. EnnBee - May 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    This is amazing. I can’t ever remember seeing a sports writer suggest they INJURE another team’s star player so they can win. Not a thing about defending the 3 point line, rebounding. Nada. It’s like the flippin’ Kobra Kai has a newspaper column.
    I sure hope the writer has kids who play sports. Maybe the opposing coaches would be interested to learn that “frontier justice” is deemed a valid strategy.

  7. FLCeltsFan - May 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Howard didn’t push back, he was throwing elbows with intent to injure. There’s a big difference between pushing and throwing a hard elbow.

  8. Dave G. - May 28, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Apparently this Kurt Helin is more suited to write about sewing circles instead of Bball ( has he even SEEN a game?)
    First, let’s all admit it. Stern wanted this to go more than 4 games, and what Stern wants, he gets (but don’t suggest anything like this unless you want to be fines 25,000.00). See how they made up two techs. against Perk? What good does it do to “rescind the 2nd tech. if it’s the 2nd tech that got him ejected? Are they going to go back and replay the game from that point? How about 2 fouls for Rondo is the last 2 first quarters of which both were losses? Look at game 5, NEITHER of the calls against Rondo were correct. Of the 2 fouls called against PP in the first, only ONE was correct.
    Second, Dwight Coward isn’t pushing, he is intentionally head hunting with his elbows. FIVE shots in the last two games. Rondo,Perk,KG (twice), Big Baby ( concussion!). But, No, let’s not call any flagrants against D.Coward cause if he was out of the game, it would’ve been a 4-0 ECF and Stern doesn’t want that.
    But good try Ken Helin !

  9. ed - May 28, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    The ref’s need control however Stern wants a close series. The ref’s will help you up but do not call fouls.
    NBA National betting Association Just ask the ref’s as they have all the inside to vegas!

  10. Dave G. - May 28, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Oh, and for the poster who said “he wasn’t even looking”. What? Just because he knew Perk (or Paul P. or KG or Rondo or KG) was behind him and didn’t look before assaulting them, that is evidence? He’s PERFECTED the art of assaulting without looking.
    Question- You’re in a fight, you have a chance to hit your opponent in the face with either a)your fist or b) your elbow, which would you choose, which is going to cost the most damage?
    Exactly! The Elbow! If you disbelieve, ask Glen Davis with a concussion.

  11. Dave G. - May 28, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Good try by Van Gundy to diffuse the situation so the Ref’s continue to give D.Coward the star calls.
    I’m hoping that EVERY Celtic comes out tonight and starts swinging all their elbows in the exact same manner as Dwight, let’s see if there is double standard!

  12. ED - May 28, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Stern is mad because lebron is out so he needs to keep it close for
    the ratings.
    Hate to say it but somebody needs to go to the emergency room for the ref’s to get real!
    The West is having no problems and they are tough but fair under the basket.
    Stern is getting richer everyday!

  13. Jeffrey - May 28, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    porkchopfactory . com
    GO CELTICS!!!!

  14. okclaker - May 28, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I remember that. At the time the refs were calling all sorts of flagrant fouls in the playoffs and for some odd reason Rondo didnt get one. If that was Ron Artest he would of been kicked out of the game. Celtics have been playing dirty for a while and its excepted because they are a “physical team”. I am loving this, beat the up a little more for the Lakers when they meet in the finals

  15. Daqve G. - May 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    But like you say: D. Coward gets “beat up all the time on the head and shoulders to get him to shoot FT”.
    So, where’s the Celtics FT’s? Exactly, they don’t call fouls on Dwight, though they DO call it on the Celts to get D. Coward to the line.
    Double standard!

  16. sheedsucks - May 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Celtics are crybaby “I’m a Bad Ass” pussies. They deserve everything they get smacked with!

  17. jim w. - May 28, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    I am neither a C fan nor Magic fan. What I see is two teams going at like they should. Yes refs are missing fouls on both sides, but it seems to me equal. I do not see Dwight going after anyone, just standing his ground.

  18. AJ - May 28, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Kurt Helin – Wow, you get paid to write this juvenile, self serving, Boston baiting, post? Maybe I could find a way to do sixth grade work and get paid for it too.
    Yes, you used all the obligatory basketball words, “not a non contact sport, 285 pounds, you even brought up Kevin McHale. Good job. I can see you did your research.
    What’s wrong with your paper, little Kurt? Contact, pushing, shoving, grabbing, leaning, hacking, blocking and sending people to the floor are all part of the game. It’s not just what is allowed, its what you can get away with. Both sides do it. Not a problem. Not even an issue.
    Guys are “banged up”? Bruises and black eyes? So what. These guys are grown men. These aren’t the problem.
    Now let’s get real.
    Howard knows what he is doing. Claw to the eyes. Point of the elbow to the base of the skull. Forearm to the side of the neck (not the face, like the media says). Pulling the arm backwards to twist the spine and tear out ligaments in the shoulder.
    These are the problem.
    Accident? My arse. Howard is incredibly gifted with court presence, coordination and agility. How else do you get all those rebounds and garbage put-back dunks without having the ability to anticipate where other bodies will be and putting your body where it needs to be. Like a pianist that doesn’t need to look at the keys, Howard doesn’t need to look at the guy’s neck before he hammers it and sends the guy staggering around the court like a drunk man exhibiting the classic vasovagal response.
    I can appreciate the quality of Orlando’s play. Their three point shooting has been out of this world. Hustle, penetration, ball movement – excellent.
    I can also appreciate it when I see a guy whose learned how to injure people. What I can’t appreciate is seeing a guy do it on a basketball court, with that dumb and innocent look on his face, while people go to the hospital. Howard’s sick. If you are tempted to dispute it, watch his game closely. Watch where those elbows and forearms and knees “accidentally end up”.
    That’s the issue.

  19. 515geo - May 28, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    What were you watching on the BIG BABY play. Howard goes up for a rebound and his elbow, while going for the rebound, comes down on BIG BABY’S face. Look at the play again and quit being a whining Bostonian A-Hole.

  20. Dan - May 28, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    The celtic team and fans are a joke…if howard was intentionally elbowing your players baby davis wouldnt be the only one with a concussion.
    Please quit making excuses and play basketball, everyone knows paul pierce gets every call in the book and rondo is dirtier than perkins under shorts.
    Celtic fans must work for BP

  21. mongoslade - May 28, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    I agree and I find it interesting all of the vitrol over Dwight’s elbows. He is a big man and if you really watch the NBA and even college basketball all big men are taught to secure the ball with your elbows out to protect the ball and yourself. When big people run into people especially smaller people, the smaller of the two usually gets the worst of it. Interesting that no mention is made of how often Howard gets hammered on just about every play, but all of the hammering, grabbing and pulling that Sheed, Perkins, Rondo and others is overlooked. I’m a fan of neither club, but this is playoff basketball and the playoffs are much more physical, each possession is critical and tempers shorter. Seems to me I remember Pierce flopping around like someone shot him everytime anyone even comes close to him. Now that’s a crime!

  22. tim - May 28, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    I’m with FLCeltsfan. There’s a huge difference between hooking, grabbing, etc. (which are common when jockeying for position) and swinging your elbows, fouling through someone, etc. (which show intent to injure). It’s not just coincidence that Howard has made contact so many times in such a short period of time. We’re talking about head shots! The elbow to the back of Garnett’s head should have been an immediate ejection in my opinion. How many ‘accidents’ does he get to have before someone is seriously hurt? One thing is for sure. Howard got no post game.

  23. henry - May 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Come on, people – Howard is the master of the post-play hit, for example: trying to tear out Pierce’s right shoulder after the whistle; sending Rondo flying into the cameras after blocking his shot; and KO’ing Big Baby “accidentally” after the play is over.
    Don’t be fooled by that innocent expression on Howard’s face and all those quasi-religious thank-you’s to the Almighty – this guy is a professional take-out man.
    Watch what he does AFTER the play and you’ll see the intimidation he’s working at. Yes, the Celtics are rough, too, but rarely do you see Howard’s kind of after-the-play hit with them.
    Celtics rule, win in six.

  24. Dan - May 28, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    Do you not remember Rondo punching brad miller last year or throwing people into the scorers table??? I guess that was fair play in your eyes…
    Celtics are just peace lovin hippies….lol

  25. USMC, Ret. - May 28, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Celtic fans need to start acting like they’ve been there before and STOP crying like a “Big Baby”.
    It’s the Playoffs, deal with it and move on.
    GO LAKERS!!!

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