Dwight Howard was ejected late in the fourth quarter in the Atlanta Hawks’ 100-96 loss at the Charlotte Hornets after throwing an elbow at the head of Cody Zeller.
Before the possession that ended with the hit on Zeller, Howard appeared to get frustrated with him at the other end of the court when he got boxed out on a free throw.
“It wasn’t like I tried to hit him in the face,” Howard said after the game, “but my job is to protect my house at all costs. I am making no apologies for it. I can’t do nothing but live with it.”
Asked if he thought the foul was flagrant, Howard responded, “It’s basketball.”
Zeller said after the game he didn’t think Howard’s elbow to the face was a dirty play.
“I have taken a lot of hard hits with two older brothers,” Zeller said. “I knew it was going to be a physical game. But it was a huge play in the game because they couldn’t go to him late in the game and we went on a run.”