Wednesday's Boston game had all the makings of playoff basketball, including the refs swallowing their whistles and letting the teams get very physical. When seeing his young star center again not get a call when the defender was INTENTIONALLY trying to foul to prevent an easy basket Stan Van Gundy did what good coaches do and blasted the officials until they gave him a technical foul. Part of me also felt Stan did it to ensure he got the tech and not Dwight who this season has joined a club he has never been a part of.
Looking at the NBA stat leaders in this category makes it one that is very easy to identify. Rasheed Wallace, Carmelo Anthony and Stephan Jackson present and accounted for, but where is Mr. Iverson and why is his seat filled by this 6-11 physical phenom who always seems to be smiling? Yes, oddly enough our own comical, smiling, media friendly Dwight Howard has suddenly joined the usual foul tempered league leaders in getting technical fouls. His total of 13 for the season ties him with Carmelo Anthony for third and is only 3 away from a one game mandatory suspension. In fact Dwight's sudden rise in this category has nearly matched his entire previous four year career total of 16.
Why the sudden rise you say? Dwight has become such a handful in the paint that teams have resorted to flopping (that includes you Shaq), clubbing, and grabbing along with the double and triple teams he receives on a nightly basis. Teams have decided that the best defense against Dwight is to put him on the line (Dwight leads the league in free throw attempts per game) to test his career 60% free throw percentage or try to get him in foul trouble by drawing offensive fouls. This treatment unfortunately leads to a lot of missed calls because the sheer volume of the fouls but quite often calls are blown. The refs need to be made aware that although Dwight looks like a man of steel he can still be injured when teams send 2,3 and sometimes 4 people after you during a game with the full intent of using their full allotment of six fouls.
Quite honestly, I believe other star big men like current Magic coach Patrick Ewing have told him that sometimes he has to put aside his bubbly personality and let the officials know they still have a job to do in protecting him... Even if it means getting technical fouls! Unfortunately in the NBA it is a well known fact the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" which is why you see the "who's, who" of NBA stars and coaches spending a good deal of game time complaining to officials.