Denton's Notebook: March 4, 2011

By John Denton
March 4, 2011

ORLANDO – Barring a reprieve from the NBA league office, Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard will be suspended for one game after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season Friday night against the Chicago Bulls.

Upon having his forearm grabbed on a hard foul by Chicago guard Kyle Korver, Howard reacted angrily and swung his arm back. It didn’t connect with Korver, but referee Ed Malloy still ruled that Howard made an attempt to strike Korver. In Howard’s defense, his arm was being held after the whistle and he was making an attempt to free himself.

NBA rules mandate that players must be suspended for one game and fined $5,000 after picking up a 16th technical foul in a season. The hope is that the league office will deem the foul excessive and the technical foul will be rescinded. In addition to leading the NBA in technical fouls, Howard has also had four T’s rescinded this season.

The NBA league office likely won’t review the technical foul until Monday, meaning the Magic could practice Sunday and Monday morning without knowing the fate of their consensus All-NBA center.

If the technical foul stands, Howard will miss Monday night’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He had 39 points earlier this season in Portland.

Howard had 15 technical fouls each of the past seasons, but he was able to avoid crossing the threshold and earning a suspension. His 15th technical foul came a week ago in similar fashion when Howard was fouled and swung his arm back and grazed the face of Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison.

TRIBUTE TO NA’TWAN: Sanford’s Na’Twan Williams, an elite youth league player, dreamed of playing in the NBA before he was tragically killed by a gunshot last week.

To honor Williams’ dreams of playing in the NBA, Magic captain Jameer Nelson was chosen to wear a special sweatband in honor of the fallen 13-year-old.

``It’s such an unfortunate situation and I just want to do what I can as a tribute to Na’Twan,’’ Nelson said. ``I just want to wear the wristband with honor and do what I can to help remember him.’’

DEFENSIVE BASS: Lost in the hoopla over the defensive job that the Orlando Magic did on Dwyane Wade (no second-half field goals) and LeBron James (no fourth-quarter points) in Thursday’s 24-comeback against the Miami Heat was the gritty work Brandon Bass put in on Chris Bosh.

Bass put in time before the game watching film of Bosh’s post moves with Magic assistant coach Steve Clifford, and then went out and held the all-star power forward to five of 15 shooting in the game.

Unable to get on the floor last season because of his defensive struggles, Bass has worked hard on his defense on the floor and his pregame preparation. That extra time put in in the film room has helped Bass have some solid games defensively against the elite power forwards Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Andrea Bargnani.

``Brandon can be a really good individual defensive player when that’s his focus. But he’s built his entire career on being a scorer and a one-on-one guy,’’ Van Gundy said. ``When he really decides to put his focus on defense he can be really good individually, but he still needs to improve on his team defense. But he can make it really tough on guys defensively.’’

ETC: Van Gundy was asked before the game by a member of the media from Chicago if he thought Derrick Rose should be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. ``I think it’s Dwight Howard,’’ Van Gundy said without blinking. … The stars were out for Friday night’s game. Golfer Tiger Woods and NBA legend Julius Erving sat courtside, while six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen worked the game as a color analyst for the Bulls television network. … When the Magic came back from 25 points down to win in Nov. of 1989 against the Cleveland Cavaliers – the biggest come-from-behind victory in franchise history – Dick Bavetta was officiating the game. When the Magic rallied back Thursday in Miami from 24 down – the second biggest comeback in team history – Bavetta served as the lead official once again. … Having played six games in the 10 days since the all-star break, the Magic have the weekend off. They host the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday at the Amway Center. The Magic then embark on a five-game roadtrip to the West Coast to play Sacramento, Golden State, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee.

John Denton writes for E-mail John at Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at