The Rockets were caught for Dwight Howard using a Stickum spray on his hands in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against the Hawks.
Howard came to the scorer’s table during a break as the Hawks’ Paul Millsap was headed to the free-throw line. Howard sprayed his hands with a can covered in white tape – apparently to hide its contents. After Millsap’s first free-throw, Howard grabbed the ball. When Millsap got the ball back it clearly had a foreign substance on it.
“I’ve never felt the ball like that ever,” Millsap said after the game. “It was sticky. It was like super glue or something was on there. I couldn’t get it off my hands. It was the weirdest thing ever.”
Official Monty McCutchen grabbed the ball and went to each bench to issue a warning, saying ‘Stickum is illegal in the NBA.’ After first going to the Hawks bench he made his way toward the Rockets bench. Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff slid in front of the can, still at the scorer’s table. McCutchen noted he knew what Bickerstaff was hiding.
No penalty was enforced. The can was then removed from the scorer’s table by a member of the Rockets’ staff. According to one person, the team did not produce the spray can when ask for it later by a league official.
The incident is under review by the NBA. Following the game, the ball in question was asked for and delivered to the officiating crew.
“I don’t know why people are making a big deal out of it,” Howard told the Houston Chronicle after the game. “I do it every game. It’s not a big deal. I ain’t tripping.”
It was the third game ball that had to be used after another had to be replaced because it got wet.
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