The Houston Rockets are up in arms about an apparent swing Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler took at Rockets center Dwight Howard during Game 4 on Sunday night at American Airlines Center.
The Rockets are contending that the NBA should suspend Chandler for at least one game for the swing. But NBA officials reviewed the play and said no further action will be taken beyond the technical foul Chandler received.
Howard told reporters if it was up to him, he would not suspend Chandler for Game 5, which is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Toyota Center.
“I want him to play,” Howard told reporters.
When asked if he thought the series needed to be more physical, Howard said: “I don’t care, as long as we get a chance to fight and hit back. So it really doesn’t matter to me.
“I understand what their goal is as far as to try to get me frustrated and get me to pick up some cheap fouls, and I just have to stay away from it.”
The incident between Chandler and Howard came with 2:44 remaining in the game when the two big men got tangled near the basket. As they were running downcourt, it appeared as though Chandler took a mild swing at Howard.
Chandler was whistled for a technical foul, and when the NBA reviewed the play Tuesday, they said the correct call was made — period, end of story.
Meanwhile, the Rockets also were upset when guard Devin Harris tossed Howard to the ground in the second quarter. That physical play helped fuel a 30-15 run by the Mavs and was the surge they used to take control of the game and send a stern message to the Rockets.
“We were more aggressive in Game 4, which we had to be, but a lot of it was what was happening on the boards,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “We just did a better job of checking out.
“We did a better job of all five guys being involved. That’s how it’s got to continue.”
The Mavs won the battle of the boards, 52-38, including 16-7 on the offensive end. Dallas had five players who grabbed at least six rebounds, with Chandler picking off 14 and Al-Farouq Aminu adding 12.
“Our whole team played with really good energy and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do,” Carlisle said. “Seventeen offensive rebounds for 28 second-chance points [for the Rockets in Game 3] are going to be a losing number no matter where you’re playing.
“We’ve got to continue with great rebounding and checking out and getting everybody involved in there, and we got to keep attacking.”
Tune out the noise
When the playoffs roll around, the pressure rises and more media show up to analyze every little detail.
Carlisle wants his team to learn how to shut all of that out and concentrate on the task at hand.
“Each moment is just that, a second at a time,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to stay in the present in the middle of a playoff series.
“There can be a lot of distractions, there can be a lot of external noise from the media and other places. You’ve got to turn a deaf ear to that and you’ve got to concentrate on the things that are going on our locker room and what we need to do to be successful.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760