Brendan Haywood Denies That He ‘Punched’ Dwight Howard in the Back

Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy sent game footage to the NBA’s head office, alleging that Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood punched Dwight Howard in the back (Howard missed last night’s game against Denver due to a sore and stiff back.) Haywood said no such action took place. Per the Star-Telegram: “On Saturday, Van Gundy accused Haywood of punching Howard in the back during the game, which the Mavs won, 100-98. It’s a punch none of the game’s three officials caught. After reviewing the game’s film, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, general manager Donnie Nelson and Haywood all said they didn’t see what Van Gundy claims he saw. ‘I guess Stan has that magical hand-cam that he was taping from the bench and he’s got something that nobody else has,’ Haywood said after Sunday’s practice. ‘Stan will come out of the woodwork with anything. He’s protecting his player, as he’s supposed to do.’ Van Gundy said he plans to send video of the alleged punch to the NBA offices in New York. If the league finds Haywood guilty, he likely will be fined and/or suspended without pay. Like Haywood, Carlisle was particularly mystified concerning Van Gundy’s story about Haywood landing a punch in Howard’s lower back. ‘We looked at some different things and just didn’t see anything, other than there’s some physical plays,’ Carlisle said. ‘But there wasn’t a play where Howard flinched or anything. Maybe not, but Howard didn’t practice Saturday and didn’t play in Sunday’s 104-101 home loss to the Denver Nuggets because Van Gundy said he was suffering from back spasms related to the alleged punch by Haywood.”