One day after the NBA officially suspended him for one game for picking up 16 technical fouls this season, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard said he's trying to stay positive.
"There's nothing I can do about it," Howard said after the Magic's practice Sunday.
"I'll try not to let the officiating affect the way I play. It's very tough, but I've just got to do it. I think it's like they want to make an example out of me, but I'll just stay positive and continue to do all the things that I do to bring fun to the game. That's all I can do. I'm not a bad guy. I'm not a hothead because I get techs, and I think that's the message that people want to put across. I guess last year it was I smile too much. Now I don't smile. And now I'm a hothead."
Howard received his latest tech Friday night during Orlando's loss to the Chicago Bulls. Howard gathered an offensive rebound and was hit on top of his head by Joakim Noah. Kyle Korver then fouled Howard and hung onto Howard's arm after the whistle. Howard retaliated by throwing an elbow in Korver's direction.
Tonight, Howard will not be allowed inside Amway Center when the Magic host the Portland Trail Blazers because of NBA rules related to suspended players.
So what will Howard do with his spare time?
"I thought about having a viewing party, inviting 500 of Orlando's finest people out to where we can all view the game," Howard joked. "That'd be real awesome. We might sit outside. Right on Orange Avenue, they have a big-screen TV, so we might set up a little tent and watch the game."
New starterWith Howard out, Stan Van Gundy said Ryan Anderson will move into the starting lineup against the Trail Blazers, joining Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Brandon Bass.
Van Gundy said he hasn't determined which Blazers player Anderson will begin the game guarding. But it'll either be 6-foot-11 power forward LaMarcus Aldridge or 6-foot-11 center Marcus Camby. Aldridge, who is averaging 22.3 points per game, is the tougher assignment defensively.
Anderson and Bass, both natural power forwards, have played some center since Marcin Gortat was included in the blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 18. Anderson also played the position occasionally during his two collegiate seasons at Cal.
"Obviously, it's going to be tough not having Dwight out there, but we're going to fight," Anderson said. "We're going to compete and be ready for when he comes back."
Unfamiliar taskThe Magic already have played two games without Howard this season. A stomach virus prevented Howard, Nelson, Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick from playing in the Dec. 3 game in Detroit and the Dec. 4 game in Milwaukee. The Magic won the game against the Pistons but lost to the Bucks.
Still, tonight's game is different in one key respect.
"This will be first time we've ever played without him without a true backup center," Van Gundy said. "We've always been able to go with Marcin before. Obviously, missing Dwight is a problem in any circumstance, but it never changed the way we played. It never changed the way we had to defend anything. It never changed much of anything.
"But now, where we're just all power forwards, then it definitely changes who we are and the way we have to play. We have to do some different things. So it is a big difference for us now, but that's OK. There can be some good come out of that."
Layups • Howard served on the scout team for a portion of Sunday's practice, taking Aldridge's role. Howard wore the white side of the Magic's reversible practice jersey. "I had to wear the white jersey because I was like the quarterback on the football team: no contact," Howard joked. "But instead of being no contact, it said 'suspended' on it. So I had to wear the shirt that said 'suspended.' " Howard added: "It was the jersey of shame."
• Howard had amassed a total of $45,000 in fines for his first 15 techs. His 16th earned him a $5,000 fine, and he'll get a $5,000 fine for every tech he receives for the rest of the regular season. Howard's suspension is without pay, so he'll have to forfeit about $150,000 of his annual salary, which is about $16.5 million.
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