ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard had his technical foul from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals rescinded by the NBA.

Howard was given his sixth technical of the playoffs for taunting Anderson Varejao after a layup in the fourth quarter of the Magic’s 116-114 overtime victory Tuesday night. Cleveland’s forward had draped his arms around Howard in a failed attempt to stop him from scoring.

The NBA announced it was rescinding the foul Wednesday. Under league rules, Howard would have been automatically suspended for one game if he received a seventh technical during the playoffs.

Howard and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy were baffled by the technical Tuesday, saying after the game that Orlando’s center had simply made a big basket and was enthusiastic in the moment.

“I wasn’t taunting Varejao or anything,” Howard said after the game. “My thing, it was a tough play. He grabbed me around the neck and I made the shot.”

Jackson: NBA will ‘come back and hammer you’

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson was unrepentant about being fined $25,000 by the NBA for his criticism of the referees following Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

“I didn’t think very good of it at all,” he said before the Lakers and Denver Nuggets met Wednesday night in Game 5. “I thought I was very conciliatory, tried to soft-pedal my comments, but that’s the league for you. They’ll come back and hammer you.”

The Lakers organization was also fined $25,000 Tuesday, the day after the team’s 120-101 loss in Denver that evened the series.

“If it was a $10 fine it would still bother me,” Jackson said. “Parking tickets still bother me.”

Jackson was angry with the free throw discrepancy – Denver’s 49 attempts were 14 more than the Lakers.

– and accused the Nuggets’ Dahntay Jones of being unsportsmanlike for tripping Kobe Bryant.

Jones wasn’t called for a foul when the trip happened late in the third quarter, but on Tuesday, the NBA assessed Denver’s defensive specialist a flagrant-1 foul. Jones has three flagrant-foul points in the playoffs; one more and he’s suspended for a game.

“We kind of laugh a little bit about how in a six-week period of time we’ve become the bad boys of the NBA,” Denver coach George Karl said. “They weren’t saying that in February. We don’t play the game to intimidate. We are aggressive, but I don’t think, what was Phil’s term, we are unsportsmanlike.”


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