NBA: Mavs’ Haywood punched Magic’s Howard


MIAMI – Orlando coach Stan Van Gudy saw Mavericks center Brendan Haywood punch Magic center Dwight Howard in the back in a game on Friday and plans to send video of the incident to the NBA, according to a report on the team’s website.

“Haywood just punched him literally with a closed fist right in the back,” Van Gundy said.

“So (Howard) got through the game because he was loose, but then it really tightened up,” added Van Gundy, who said Howard didn’t practise on Saturday.

The report on the team website said superstar Howard was to see a back specialist on Saturday, although Van Gundy said his problem would have to be serious to keep Howard out of the team’s game Sunday against Denver.

“It would have to be pretty bad to keep him out because the guy shows up every night,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll have to see tomorrow.”

The Mavericks rallied from a double-digit third-quarter deficit on Friday to beat the Magic 100-98.

Dirk Nowitzki’s bank shot with 5.9 seconds remaining in Orlando sealed the victory for a Mavs team that has so far in the lockout-shortened season failed to show the championship mettle they displayed in winning the NBA title last June.

Haywood played for the Mavs after missing seven games with a sprained right knee.

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