Even in Victory, Magic Say Fouls Against Howard Are Foul
In two victories over the Charlotte Bobcats, Howard has played only 28 and 29 minutes, respectively, sitting more than anyone expected he would because of foul trouble.
In two games, he has 10 personal fouls, the same number of points he is averaging, which is eight fewer than he averaged during the regular season.
"I just don't see the other great players in this league on the bench all the time with foul trouble, especially on marginal calls. I just don't,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "You're sitting there on all of those, and you're going, 'Wow. Really that's a foul?''
The Bobcats have been using all three of their centers, Theo Ratliff, Nazr Mohammed and Tyson Chandler to slow Howard. But mostly he is slowing himself because he can't stay in the game.
"Dwight gets absolutely no respect, from the refs, from the league,'' said forward Matt Barnes. "It's crazy to see what they do to him every single play, and then he puts up his arms, and they call a foul. Hopefully, the refs will start letting Dwight be a little physical and stop calling such tick-tack fouls of him. You know, give him a chance to play.''
Howard has had only one good offensive stretch in the first two games, scoring Orlando's first nine points of the second half Wednesday. He only scored 15 in the game, which was considerably better than the five he scored in Game 1. Most of the time, he seemed more concerned with avoiding more fouls.
"It's just so frustrating because his first four fouls, and I'm not saying they weren't fouls, but there's certainly nothing blatant,'' Van Gundy said. "There's nothing where it's obvious to everybody that it's a foul. So we've got to find a way to keep him on the court.''
The three Bobcats centers combined for 13 personal fouls, most of them against Howard, making sure he felt their physical presence. His trouble was trying to duplicate that physicality at the other end.
"It's tough,'' Howard said. "You watch the game. You see what's going on out there. I can't allow that to frustrate me.''