Posted Apr 29 2009 8:03PM
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Dwight Howard's elbow has given the Orlando Magic's playoff hopes a major hit.
Howard has been suspended for Game 6 of the Magic's playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers for his elbow on Sixers center Samuel Dalembert, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The two got tangled up going for a rebound in the first quarter in Game 5 on Tuesday night. Replays showed Howard threw an elbow that hit Dalembert above the shoulders. Howard drew a technical foul for the hit.
"I'm very disappointed but I have to respect the NBA's decision," Howard said in a statement. "I didn't intend to hurt anyone. I have complete faith in my teammates that they will come out and get the job done tomorrow night."
Stu Jackson, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations, said Howard would have been ejected from the game if any of the referees saw him make contact with his target. Jackson said the contact was clear cut on replay.
"They saw the elbow thrown but they couldn't determine whether or not the elbow actually made contact with Dalembert," Jackson said. "This was an elbow that was thrown that made contact above the shoulders and by rule there's an automatic suspension."
Orlando will also be without starting guard Courtney Lee, who suffered a fractured sinus after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Howard later in the quarter. Lee's status for the remainder of the playoffs is uncertain.
The Magic lead the Sixers 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Thursday. Orlando will likely start Marcin Gortat in place of Howard, and J.J. Redick for Lee.
Howard was having the best playoff series of his career and has been the only consistent Magic player in the postseason. He had 24 points and a career playoff-high 24 rebounds in Tuesday's win, and he's averaged 24 points and 15.8 rebounds in the series.
Howard's elbow on Dalembert in Game 5 set off a wild coaching exchange afterward.
Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo said Howard should have been called for 3 seconds in the lane several times and asked the league to look into the elbow. Jackson said he got a text message about the play almost immediately from Sixers president Ed Stefanski.
|Get everything you need to know about the Sixers-Magic series, including highlights, analysis and more. Read Full Article|
"Dwight Howard had a great game, and he's a great player, but he just lives in the 3-second lane on offense and defense," DiLeo said. "I'm just saying he's standing in the 3-second lane on offense and defense. He's a great player, and he doesn't need any advantages."
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy heard DiLeo's remarks, took the podium and defended his star center by mocking DiLeo.
"Am I supposed to come up here and talk about the game? Or am I supposed to come up here and lobby for the calls I want the next game?" Van Gundy said. "Is that what it's about now? We're supposed to lobby for the calls we want the next game? Let's just play the games.
"I guess that's the only reason Dwight's having success in this series. It has nothing to do with the fact that he's good."
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