Rockets want four of Dwight Howard's latest techs rescinded

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets have petitioned the NBA to rescind the four technical fouls administered to center Dwight Howard in the past two games, according to a source.

Howard was ejected for picking up two technical fouls in each of the past two games. He leads the NBA with 12 technicals this season and is tied with the Clippers' Blake Griffin with two ejections.

Howard was ejected from Saturday's loss to the Washington Wizards for pushing Nene Hilario in the fourth quarter after they were tangled with each other. It was Howard's second technical of the game. He picked up the first technical with 6 minutes,16 seconds to play in the opening quarter after getting fouled by Jared Dudley, who grabbed Howard in the upper body. Howard was trying to show the referees what Dudley was doing to him by putting his hands behind Dudley's neck when he was given the technical.

That technical could be rescinded since both players were smiling as Howard was trying to demonstrate what Dudley was doing.

"I don't think he was trying to hurt me," Howard said. "If it were anybody else getting hit, grabbed around the shoulder, neck area, you know what they're going to call because it's in the rulebook. For me getting a tech for it, explaining to the ref what happened, it wasn't like I was loud. I didn't go at him. I said, 'Hey, he grabbed me around my shoulders, can you look at it?' I got a technical foul for it."

The Rockets were displeased with the officiating Saturday night, even prompting interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff to draw a technical foul. He ripped the officials afterward, saying they should be held accountable for their actions. Bickerstaff said the officials need to protect Howard and called some of the actions from the Wizards dirty.

"They didn't protect Dwight," Bickerstaff said Saturday night. "They allowed people to hit him, they allowed people to grab his neck, grab his arms, and hold his shoulders. He's going to get hurt, plain and simple. The reason why he has the back problems and knee problems is because people jump on his back and grab on his shoulders, these referees need to be held accountable for letting people attack Dwight and be that physical with him. And dirty, it's not physical; if they let Dwight be physical and be clean that's one thing. They're not clean with the way they play. We don't mind being physical, he's not afraid of that. But cheap is one thing, grabbing somebody's shoulders, grabbing somebody's arms, that's not clean basketball. And it's not just tonight, but tonight is an example of it."