Painful routine for the Magic

Dwight Howard takes a hell of a long time to shoot free throws. You're only supposed to take ten seconds, but as we started talking about in November, the Magic center likes to take far longer.

Last night, that led to trouble. From ESPN.com news services:

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is poised to serve another one-game suspension after picking up his NBA-high 18th technical foul of the season during the second quarter of a 111-102 win Wednesday.

The reason was a rare 10-second violation on a free throw attempt.

The poor-shooting Howard has always been deliberate at the line, and referee Bennett Salvatore called a violation for taking too long to attempt his second shot late in the second quarter Wednesday at Charlotte.

As the crowd jeered, Howard tossed the ball away from any official. Salvatore immediately gave Howard a technical.

"I don't see a lot of people getting called for it," Howard said after the game. "I was really upset about it."

If the call is upheld by the league, Howard will sit out Sunday's nationally televised game against East-leading Chicago.

That'll teach him, right! Not only a violation, but a technical -- for a guy who needs to avoid those like the plague -- on top of that!

Surely he'll be faster now.

Here's the amazing thing: That same routine has happened before. TrueHoop reader Michael reminds of Christmas Day, against the Celtics, Howard got his tenth technical the exact same way -- a ten-second violation followed by a ball thrown in disgust, and a technical.

Click that link to watch it ... it's fascinating because the Christmas game featured something extra (on an earlier play, but still): Paul Pierce using his fingers to count off the seconds to the referees.

Gerald Henderson did the same thing last night.

Two points:

  • Howard is right when he says this rule is inconsistently enforced. If they called it on him, and everybody else, every time, Howard would have a faster routine. Simple as that. He keeps doing it because they usually allow it from all slow shooters. Being a referee is hard, but this call isn't. If you can count to ten ...

  • Soon the Magic will be in the playoffs, and Howard will be on the line in key situations. Does he really want the Paul Pierces of the world counting off the seconds, while the Bob Delaneys and Bennett Salvatores weigh whether or not they'll doom the Magic this time? Isn't Howard's only prudent decision, for his team, to simply skip the meditation portion of his routine and just shoot?