The Atlanta Hawks lost a close game down the stretch to the Hornets last night by a final score of 100-96. The loss snapped a six game win streak for the Hawks and they may have been able to keep it going had they not lost Dwight Howard for the rest of the game with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter. He was ejected after hitting Cody Zeller in the face with an elbow. The play wasn’t necessarily dirty but it was definitely a little extra. Either way, Howard was not in an apologizing mood after the game.


“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.”

Howard had 10 points and 18 rebounds at the time of his ejection and his Hawks were up by three points. After he was gone, the Hornets ran off nine straight points and never gave the lead back.

Zeller wasn’t holding any grudges after the game and in fact didn’t even feel like the elbow was dirty. “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.”

Howard’s teammate, Paul Millsap, thought the ejection had everything to do with the outcome of the game. “Plays like that are momentum shifts,” Millsap said. “It kind of sparked them. They took that and added fuel to the fire.”