LOS ANGELES – Dwight Howard showed a broad smile on his face before the Philadelphia 76ers took on the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, receiving his 2020 championship ring with fellow former Laker Danny Green.
It didn’t take long for Howard’s expression to change from joy to disgust.
Howard, returning to Staples Center, was sent off between the first and second quarters when referee Kane Fitzgerald called Howard a technical foul for intentionally walking toward Lakers big man Montrezl Harrell on his way to the Philadelphia bench after he the bell will ring.
Howard and Harrell had already been charged for double technical fouls for entangling with 1 minute and 8 seconds remaining in the first quarter, which made the second manager an automatic disqualification for Howard.
Harrell pushed Howard away from him and continued onto the Lakers bench, turning around to say goodbye to the three-time winner of Defensive Player of the Year as he defended his case against Fitzgerald.
The Sixers won 109-101.
“I thought it was a very selfish play,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said of Howard. “You have a coach, you can’t get another one. We just have to have better discipline. I get it. I know there is a lot of emotion. But we had a center in our team and they fired him. I was not very happy with that. an emotional game. But he’s a veteran. We have to have better discipline. “
It’s unclear what sparked the couple’s bad blood, but Harrell, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year while playing for the LA Clippers, might not have joined the Lakers in the offseason if Howard hadn’t signed with the Sixers. .
At the start of free agency in November, Howard tweeted: “I’m staying right where I belong. The Lakers nation love you all. Purple and gold never get old.”
However, in a strange turn of events, he quickly deleted the tweet and ended up signing a one-year, $ 2.6 million deal with Philadelphia. Later that day, the Lakers agreed to a two-year, $ 19 million contract with Harrell.