By Ben Golliver
Dwight Howard's blow to the face of Kenneth Faried earned only a slap on the wrist.
The NBA announced Thursday that Howard has been fined $35,000 for his flagrant foul 2 during the Lakers' Wednesday night loss to the Nuggets. Howard was not subject to an additional suspension and should be available when the Lakers host the Blazers on Friday night.
Howard was automatically ejected from a Wednesday night game against the Nuggets for a flagrant foul 2 after he hit Kenneth Faried in the face while defending a shot attempt.
Howard extended his left arm and hit Faried square in the face with his hand as he attempted to defend a driving attack in the paint. Faried, who was picking up steam after receiving a pass from Ty Lawson when he was struck by Howard, went straight to the ground holding his face. Replays showed Howard contacted Faried cleanly, in the chin area, knocking him straight to the court on his back.
The foul occurred with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter and the Nuggets leading 79-72. Denver went on to win 126-114.
CBSSports.com reported Howard's post-game assessment of the foul.
"It was a hard foul," Howard said. "That's all I know. I've been fouled harder than that before and nobody's ever gotten kicked out of the game for it, but I get penalized for fouling people hard. It's basketball."
A flagrant foul 2 is given for "unnecessary and excessive contact" and requires an automatic ejection.
According to the NBA's flagrant foul guidelines, Howard earns two points for the flagrant foul two. Entering the game, Howard had one point, giving him a new total of three points should the league office uphold the official's ruling on the play. Accumulating five points over the course of the season results in an automatic one-game suspension.
Howard departed with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block in 27 minutes for the Lakers. Faried finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in 39 minutes for the Nuggets.