When will Dwight Howard learn his lesson?
Magic center Dwight Howard picked up his NBA-leading 17th technical foul in Monday night's OT loss to the Knicks. Did he deserve a T for simply flipping the ball up the court after being called for his sixth foul of the game? Probably not. Is he a marked man by NBA officials? Probably so. But, ultimately, Howard needs to take responsibility and not put himself in position to pick up technical fouls that do more than hurt the Magic in those particular games. Howard picked up his 16th technical earlier this month, which drew an automatic one-game suspension. If the technical he picked up Monday is not rescinded by the NBA, he is one technical away from another one-game suspension. And, let's face it, without Howard, the Magic looks an awful lot like the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Make all the excuses you want for Howard -- that the officials use a quick whistle with him, that he isn't given the same superstar treatment from referees that the Kobes and LeBrons of the NBA enjoy, that the NBA has become ridiculous with handing out technicals. But with Howard, this isn't just a handful of incidents. He has 17 technicals! At some point, maybe it will sink in and Howard will think, "Hmm, whatever it is I'm doing, I need to stop because I'm hurting my team.''
Part of Howard's problem is that he and coach Stan Van Gundy complain about everything. Every single call on Howard. Every single non-call against Howard. They complain before games, during games, after games. It's no wonder officials aren't willing to give Howard the benefit of the doubt. If the officials aren't going to change, Howard needs to. In the end, he's only hurting himself. And the Magic.