NBA says it won't upgrade Howard foul

New York, NY ( - The NBA said Tuesday there was no reason to upgrade the Flagrant-1 foul called on Dwight Howard in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, meaning the star Houston Rockets center won't be suspended.

Howard was whistled for the foul after elbowing Golden State center Andrew Bogut in the face during a physical exchange in the third quarter Monday night.

He could have been suspended if the foul was upgraded to a Flagrant-2, but the NBA said there was no reason to change the call made on the court.

The Rockets won the game 128-115 to force a Game 5 in the series.

"Howard was trying to extricate himself from Bogut and recklessly hit him in the face with an open hand," NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement. "The contact was unnecessary but was not deemed excessive by the officials working the game with the aid of the replay center. And we don't see a reason to modify that call."

Atlanta's Al Horford was ejected from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals after being called for a Flagrant-2 foul for elbowing Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova.

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was suspended two games by the NBA for hitting a Boston player in the face in the first round in a play that resembled the one involving Howard and Bogut on Monday.