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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. Magic - May 28, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    I am a Nets fan not Magic. I think you Boston people should stop crying. What comes around, goes around. I guess all the crap the C’s have been doing over the last few years does not count?

  2. Anonymous - May 28, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Question is, what is the LEAGUE watching?
    You watch it, at 1:57.
    Baby’s left arm is straight up. Howard’s left arm “comes down” after the shot. Replay it to get the timing and you can see Howard accelerate his elbow down on the side of Davis’ jaw. That’s a concussion. Notice the follow through to the base of the neck as Howard’s forearm ends up poing down. Howard clearly has Davis in his peripheral vision.
    Fan or no fan, this has no place in the NBA.

  3. Anonymous - May 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Dude are you kidding me are you watching these games. Big Baby got knocked out on accident and you can clearly see that in the replay. How is it howards fault that he is alot shorter and was under him when he came down after trying to get a rebound.

  4. mongoslade - May 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Boston fans seem to have a VERY short memory, wasn’t that long ago that Garnett was slapping player’ss arms and hands, Rondo was throwing opposing guards under the scoring table and let’s not even talk about the blow to Brad Miller. If you look at the replays, Howard is not even looking in the player’s direction, he grabs the rebound and does what even Kevin Garnett does, he spreads his elbows to protect the ball!
    All play in the paint is rough, especially given the size of these players. Hooking, grabbing, kneeing, even a few elbows are thrown, so quit crying, you can’t have it both ways

  5. mitch - May 28, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    anyone remember Davis trying to re injure (successfully) Shaqs thumb?
    yeah now whine, about poor poor clean playing celts,

  6. Joe - May 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    If there’s ever been in a team in professional sports that has NO business complaining about “cheap shots” or not getting “the breaks” of ANY kind, it’s the Boston Celtics. Many things to admire about their history and their players, but without their “aggressive” defense back in the Bird era, they never would have won that first series with the Lakers in ’84. They certainly were not as talented a team as the Lakers that year, so they found a way to win-famously made apparent by McHale’s clothesline. And getting the “breaks” of any kind? I wouldn’t even know where to start.

  7. Lakers 4ever - May 28, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Celtics fans are like little girls, complaining, whining and pointing finger. Geez your team can’t even play CLEAN bball. What goes around comes around (elbows that is).

  8. Anonymous - May 28, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Wait. Boston has Rajon “UFC” Rondo and they’re complaining about fouls? Really??

  9. Mal - May 28, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Well I am not going to sit here and say the Celts don’t play physiscal ball because they do. If you commit a foul you should get called for it. What I will say is that if Perk and Rasheed can’t breath or so much as place a hand on a player at either end of the court close to or away from the play with out a wistle. Then why was the contact not called the other way? Same refs watching the same game! The league should be embaressed by this officiating. It is clearly to get the series extended to the weekend. After all the Commissioner needs a new pair of shoes!

  10. banner18 - May 28, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Newsflash: Nobody in Boston likes Ron Borges, also known as the “Broadsheet Bully.”

  11. Anonymous - May 28, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    515geo – did you even read what I wrote! Obviously you have some reading comprehension issues! THe hit on Big Baby ( and he is a big Baby, no arguement there) whether intentional or not was a flagrant foul, so was the play where Pierce went to the floor. The games need to be called fairly, end of story.
    It has nothing to do with my being a bostonian A-hole (since I am not from boston nor anywhere near there, although i might be an A-hole), it has to do with the game being played within the rules and called fairly. If Shaq did it to Noah (I hate both Shaq and Noah), it would be the same, an elbow to the head is a flagrant foul, holding your elbows up high is a foul, just ask Shaq, he got fouls called on him all season for high elbows.
    so please stop calling C’s fans whiners for asking for a fairly called game, learn how to read, and learn the game before you go talking about things you know nothing about.

  12. RM - May 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    This is funny stuff. Cause ive always thought of the C’s as a team of physical nature, “thuggish” if you will. And once they get up 3 to 0, theres no mention of Dwights physical play back at them even though it was there. But now they start losing, then all of the sudden the magic are a violent team that plays dirty. I agree with SVG, since when have the celtics not been that team. Im not gonna say it just yet, we can see how the game go’s tonight, but boston is deffinately looking for some other reason as to explain this turn-around other then what we all know is the reason…

  13. Brett - May 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    To the Celtics fans who suggest Dwight hit Davis on purpose:
    You are ignorant and probably believe that Pierce is always hurt when he rolls around the ground after a soft foul. He’s an actress and you are all delusional. Dwight went up for a rebound and Davis put his face too close. You may still win the series, but you are severe homers to the point its scary. Yes Dwight swings his elbows to create room, because he’s punched, pushed, hooked, pulled, and head-locked every other play. What just Dwight and his opponent when the magic are on offense. If you don’t think you see it then go check yourself in to a medical facility. The Celtics won two games by 3-4 points and then both teams blew each other out. Get over yourselves you look like jokes on here.

  14. Anonymous - May 28, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I’ve never seen a whinier group of fans than the Boston fans, and I probably never will. Once someone starts playing physical against them they whine and cry like little bitches. For all yopu idiots who think that the elbow to the face of big baby was intentional, think back to last year when Dwight Howard did the exact same thing to Courtney Lee, except his face was shattered. Grow up

  15. Dave G. - May 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    To Brett, RM and all the other pussies. Boston physical? Yes! Do they get called for fouls? Yes.
    Now, Orlando physical (closer to dirty, but we’ll use physical)? Yes! Orlando or Dwight Coward get called for fouls? No!
    See the difference?
    Now, go back to licking Cowards bunghole.

  16. WinDelRoj - May 28, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    I live in Denver and we had a guy considered to be one of the best defensive players in the league. I cant tell you how often Dikembe went up for a rebound/block and caught someone with an elbow. Now, Dikembe is a great man and ambassador from everything I ever recalled about the man. If you are worried about catching an elbow from someone who was taught how to properly secure a reboud and how to properly assert yourself in the post (ie. the way dwight and shaq stay in a wide stance), then you need to get the hell out the way. I know I brought up Rondo earlier. But Ray took an elbow to a mans balls before the playoffs even started. I dont think either side is playing dirty in this series. i just hope the refs dont get all crazy trying to turn in into an all star game and try to remember the 80/90’s when the NBA was a mans sport. Wonder what Charles Oakley thinks about all this

  17. Rhapsodie - May 28, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    How can you ‘stay classy’ if you have no class initially? I’m not a fan of either team but would love to see the Magic give Boston two consecutive 3-0 series blown. The Magic are on a roll and Boston is whining.

  18. drj - May 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Hey Kurt. Fool. It’s one thing to “be physical”. It’s quite another to concuss your opponent, and swing your elbows around with no regard for the safety of others (including his own teammates!). That Howard is a menace on the court should be obvious to everyone, Celtics fan or not.
    You want a brawl out there? Or a basketball game?

  19. Craig W. - May 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Tom Thibodeau teaches an in-your-face defense. It is very physical. It is very disrupting.
    If you have big bodies, you are 6in shorter, you are standing directly under your opponents armpit, you are shoving and holding your hands up, then you are going to get hit. The only question is how hard you are going to get hit.
    “Big Baby” got hit pretty hard. Surprise! Surprise!

  20. spdevo - May 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    This is getting out of hand. I don’t watch these two teams a lot but it did seem to me like Howard was a little aggressive on a couple of the hits. However it seems to me this is up to the league to police and take action. I don’t think it is appropriate for a sports writer to call for retaliation. This kind of behavior from either team is one of the reasons it seems to me like pro basketball is becoming less fun to watch. If it just resorts to who can beat the other team up to win the game, I would rather watch MMA.

  21. John - May 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Boston, classy? What planet do you live on (and don’t say Earth)?

  22. Jack - May 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Very intresting discussion Bostan have the Wilder Beast i mean Perkins if you dont beleive me watch Animal planet before the game tonight.Then you have wana be German Shep Kevin Garnet and south LA Thug Peirce so last but least Big Booty Davis the hired gun well i was in the millitary and i was not trained to be killed i was traiend to protect my country.
    So Celtics fans and team please get on with it and mindfull that you are not that good and most of all you are all OLD B MEN

  23. Bob Nerren - May 28, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Paranoid moron.

  24. Sparklemahn - May 28, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    This discussion has been hillarious and entertaining. Thanks to all for the crazed sports fan’s comments. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat…

  25. Sparklemahn - May 28, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    Hillarious, sports crazed comments make for great reading. Thanks!

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