Dwight Howard had a bittersweet homecoming on Thursday night. The Philadelphia 76ers center was in Los Angeles as the team was facing the Lakers. Howard played for the Lakers last season, and with the team winning the NBA title in October, he received his championship ring before the game. However, Howard was ejected from the game after getting a technical foul call between the first and second quarters.
Howard received the foul after intentionally walking into Lakers center Montrezl Harrell while going to the 76ers bench. The two already had double technical fouls late in the first quarter for getting tangled up. Howard was disqualified from the game for getting two technical fouls. When Howard got hit with the second technical foul, he pleaded his case with referee Kane Fitzgerald.
Dwight Howard was just ejected because of this...
What on earth?!?! pic.twitter.com/2EA90dBkDG— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) March 26, 2021
"I just thought it was a very selfish play," 76erscoach Doc Rivers said of Howard, as reported by ESPN. "You got one tech, you can't get another one. We just have to have better discipline. I get it. I know there's a lot of emotion. But we had one center on our team, and he got thrown out. I was not very happy with that one. I know it's an emotional game. But he's a veteran. We got to have better discipline."
Harrell shoved Howard after he ran into him. It led to fans questioning why Howard was ejected for being shoved. After the game, Harell was asked what caused the altercation. "I don't know, honestly," he said. "I don't even care to be real with you. I was just playing basketball, man."
Harrell added: "I'm not backing down from nobody, man. I don't take that lightly. I don't take none of that disrespect. You're not gonna push me all around the court and just feel like you're gonna big-boy me and just attack me or whatever. It's not in my blood, it will never be in my blood."
The 76ers won the game 109-101 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference (32-13). Howard, 35, has played in 45 games and has posted 6.6 points 8.0 rebounds and 1 block per game. In his career, Howard has been selected to the All-Star Game eight times and is a three-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year Award.