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Dwight Howard Fined $15K For Barnes Foul As Clippers Continue To Win Psychological War

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Dwight Howard Fined $15K For Barnes Foul:

Rod Thorne, President of Basketball Operations for the NBA announced yesterday that Dwight Howard is being fined $15,000 for his shove on Matt Barnes. The foul occurred in the first quarter of Game 4.

It was an innocuous enough play given what we’ve seen throughout the series. Looking at the foul that occurred later with Blake Griffin grabbing Howard by the neck and Dwight’s response pushing him down to the floor. You tell me which one is more physical.

May 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) is fouled by Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Rockets 128-95 to take a 3-1 lead. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Howard joins the many players who’ve been getting fined in these playoffs, but once again there have been some much more physical plays. For example the hit to the face by Kendrick Perkins on Jae Crowder was also levied a $15k fine.

The difference in this situation is Perkins went at Crowder with the purposeful intention of hitting him in the face and it happened without Crowder saying anything to him. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Howard should have used more discipline but are these two fouls remotely close in gravity?

Matt Barnes himself was doled out a $50k fine for yelling an obscenity at James Harden‘s mother in Game 2 and has been a thorn in the side of the Rockets throughout the series.

Matt Barnes $50K fine for profanity laced diatribe at James Hardens mother is 1.5% of his $3.3 mil salary

— Soaring Down South (@SoaringDwnSouth) May 8, 2015

Some felt Barnes fine was excessive given Joakim Noah received a fine for $25,000 after pushing a fan during Game 2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls series.

#JOAKIMNOAH push #clevelandcavaliers fan at halftime #nba #nbaplayoffs #chicagobulls … (Vine by @TURDLDubzz) https://t.co/bwYcinoQbP

— Steven Ray (@Brownsplayboy) May 7, 2015

Examining the vine video of Noah’s “push” it’s really more of a tap, but the league doesn’t tolerate any negative physical interaction with fans. Further, both Barnes and Noah have a history of previous altercations which tends to affect the fine amount.

While no one should condone what Howard did by pushing Barnes above the shoulders it does seem like an excessive fine.  Perhaps I’m harboring on the fact, but repeatedly Blake Griffin gets away with cheap shots and rarely picks up fouls or gets fined for his actions. Case in point, it was Howard who received the foul for the play that Griffin grabbed his neck.

Just ask Patrick Patterson about Blake Griffin cheap shots; two years ago Griffin broke Patterson’s nose with an elbow, but somehow BG was the one who ended up at the free throw line. This year Patterson was the recipient of not one, but two Blake elbows both of which weren’t called as fouls. The day after that game vs. Toronto it was announced Griffin would undergo surgery to remove a staph infection from his elbow.

In the video below you see an altercation between Griffin and P.J. Tucker of the Suns. Watch as Griffin forces him to the ground trying to make it look like he’s the one being pulled down and then repeatedly pushes him back down.

Griffin is a master at getting the officials to see the back end of plays and getting the benefit of the call. Just like the Tucker play here’s another example with a very similar M.O. He pulls down Zach Randolph and elbows him in the head, but ZBo is the one who gets the flagrant for the retaliation:

Watch enough Clippers games and you’ll see it occur repeatedly. I’ve witnessed him pull on players jerseys, elbow them in the ribs, push them in the back and when the opponent retaliates Griffin makes sure to be very blatant in his response so he draws the foul. You hear the pundits often discussing why so many players go after Blake Griffin and I’d guess this is why. They probably think he’s a cheap shot artist and are fed up with him getting the whistle.

Regardless of how you feel about Griffin, Barnes or the Howard foul, the bottom line is the Clippers have been the team coming out on top of the psychological warfare game and the Rockets are letting them get in their head.

As the Rockets prepares for what is an elimination game tonight can they find a way to utilize these mind games as motivation.Certainly watching Game 4 it appeared Houston barely cared let alone were bothered by the embarrassing beating the Clippers have been putting on them. They’ve played two perhaps three solid quarters through the 4 games, and as much as you might not like the yapping and cheap shots occurring between the plays it’s definitely paying dividends for the Clippers.

Next: Who Is MIP?

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