So is his frustration.
Howard received his 10th technical foul of the season -- most in the NBA -- in the second quarter of the Magic/Celtics game Saturday, coming after he tossed the ball out of bounds in disgust.
Howard had just been the object of a very-rarely called violation by veteran official Bob Delaney. While at the free-throw line, Howard had the ball taken away from him because he took more than 10 seconds to take his shot. Instead of handing over the ball, he tossed it away, which drew the technical.
Although opposing teams had complained in the past about Howard taking too long at the free-throw line, it never had been called before. Rarely in the NBA is it ever called. In Atlanta earlier this month, fans there counted in unison when Howard went to the line, hoping to draw attention to it. And they did. The officials of that game never called the violation, even when the fans reached 12 or 13 seconds.
Howard has been a poor free-throw shooter since he came into the league, and he has changed his pre-shot routine several times. It has gotten slower. He is shooting just 56 percent from the free-throw line this season, compared to 57 percent from the field.
"Things happen,'' said Howard, who knew the league had been watching him. "And after that, it was in the back of my mind, don't get another 10-second call. But I'm not going to change anything. I might just speed things up a little.''
The technical foul issue is the more serious one because there is an automatic suspension awaiting him when he reaches No. 16. The Magic have played only 30 of their 82 games. Once a player reaches 16, he is suspended again after every second technical foul.
The cost of them continues to increase, also. The first five technical fouls cost a player $2,000. From 6 to 10, the cost is $3,000. From 11 and beyond, it costs $5,000 per technical. The suspension at 16 also costs a player one game's salary, which is significant from someone like Howard who's making $16.5 million this season.
Stan Van Gundy got his sixth technical foul in the first half. He leads all NBA coaches in that category.