Mavs' Howard not suspended for foul on Anderson
Updated: Monday May 07, 2001 5:53 PM
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Juwan Howard will be back for Game 2 of the Dallas-San Antonio Western Conference semifinals, while Derek Anderson could miss the rest of the playoffs.
Howard, the Dallas starting forward, could have been suspended for his flagrant foul that left Anderson with a separated right shoulder in San Antonio's 94-78 win Saturday night.
Dallas coach Don Nelson, who asked that the foul be downgraded from a flagrant 2 to a flagrant 1, said Sunday that the NBA let the call stand but did not suspend Howard. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night at the Alamodome.
Anderson is expected to be out three to six weeks.
While the Spurs described the foul as out of line and more than a "playoff hard foul," the Mavericks insisted it was unintentional.
"Juwan made a play on the ball -- he was being aggressive and protecting his basket," guard Steve Nash said. "Derek was being aggressive on the other hand going to the basket. They both did the thing they were supposed to do. It's just unfortunate the way they tangled and Derek hit the floor with his momentum."
The crash came with 2.5 seconds left in the first half. Anderson leapt high for a dunk, and at the peak of his jump, Howard flew in swinging at the ball. He caught part of it, but his arm came down across Anderson's right shoulder. Anderson fell hard and later staggered off the court wincing in pain.
"I've never gone after anybody like that," said Tim Duncan, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs. "I never go near somebody knowing they're in the air like that or knowing they're going to be in the air like that and hit them like that."
Duncan said the foul was "uncalled for."
"He said it wasn't intentional, and you've got to believe him," Duncan said. "I don't think he'd intentionally try to hurt somebody like that, but that's a tough situation."
Howard was ejected for the foul.
"I truly believe he didn't mean to hurt anybody -- he's not that kind of an individual," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. "But that's not a typical hard foul. That's silly to even say that. It's disingenuous to think that that's a typical NBA hard foul."
Howard said he apologized to Anderson after they both left the game.
"It wasn't done intentionally," Howard said. "Like I said, I went for the ball to try to block the shot, and as I hit the basketball, my arm came down and got tangled with his. As his momentum was moving forward, he lost his balance and fell."
Howard said he spent much of the night and the following morning thinking about what happened.
"I've been in this league for seven years, and I never had a rap or reputation as being a dirty player or a player who goes out to try to give up hard fouls to hurt people," he said.
Howard said he expected to face a hostile crowd Monday night.
"It doesn't change my approach as far as how I'm going to go out there and play the game," he said. "I'm still going to go out there and play hard, play aggressive, rebound the basketball, play some defense and do whatever it takes to help our team win."
With Anderson out, Antonio Daniels will start. Daniels stepped in for Anderson in the second half of Game 1 and hit his second and third 3-pointers to finish with 13 points.
But the Spurs will come out without their No. 2 scorer. Anderson averaged 15.5 points in the regular season and 11 points in the first round of the playoffs.
"It doesn't affect how we'll attack," said the Mavericks' Michael Finley, who had a team-high 17 points in Game 1. "It more or less affects how they're going to attack us. They just lost 10 to 15 points, and somebody else is going to have to step up and do that. That's going to be a big challenge, a big responsibility for the guys off the bench."
Yet in Game 1, the Spurs led by as many as 25 points, mainly because of poor shooting by the Mavs, who had only one day off after their third win against Utah, a thrilling, come-from-behind victory that propelled them to the second round.
"We ran into a team that was hungry and waiting," Nash said. "We didn't have enough for them, but Game 2 hopefully will be different."