The Philadelphia 76ers will be without reserve big man Dwight Howard for their Friday night game against the Orlando Magic after the veteran center picked up his 16th technical in Thursday night's game against the Miami Heat, which means an automatic one-game suspension by the NBA.
Howard picked up the technical after getting in a scuffle with Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who played in his first game of the season Thursday night and was abruptly ejected just three minutes into his season debut. The altercation came in the second quarter when Haslem approached Howard after a foul call, and it escalated from there. Haslem was pointing his finger in Howard's face, which led to Howard shoving the veteran Heat big man.
The confrontation stemmed from a play earlier in the game, where Haslem took issue with being elbowed and thrown to the ground by Howard. He addressed the issue with Howard, which led to double technicals for both players. After the game, Haslem detailed what happened.
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"You know it's obviously very physical," Haslem said. "Dwight plays the way Dwight plays. It was just a conversation between me and him where I just wanted to make it clear that the throwing down and swinging of the elbows and things like that, I felt like we should kind of leave that out of the game for the night. So I think he disagrees. So when he disagreed, I disagreed, and it was a whole bunch of disagreeing."
The Sixers ended up losing a crucial game to the Heat, and will now hope they can clinch the No. 1 seed in the East with a win against the Magic on Friday. However, they'll have to do so without their gritty backup center in Howard, who -- despite all the technicals -- is having another solid year after joining Philadelphia in free agency this past offseason. Luckily for Howard and the Sixers, once the playoffs start technical fouls reset, and he would need to reach seven before another automatic one-game suspension kicks in.