While there are conflicting reports this morning over whether or not Phoenix’s first-round flameout against San Antonio means the end of Mike D’Antoni’s run as Suns head coach, it seems just a matter of moments before Avery Johnson’s tenure in Dallas is considered in the wake of New Orleans’ 4-1 series victory over the Mavericks. The Star Telegram’s Jeff Kaplan reports the Mavs were slightly distracted facing elimination, thanks in small part to the party planning of noted weed enthusiast Josh Howard.

A late-night party to celebrate Josh Howard’s 28th birthday after Sunday’s Game 4 loss turned Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson livid and led him to cancel Monday’s practice, two sources confirmed.

Johnson, who stressed no partying during the series, was informed before Monday’s scheduled practice that Howard handed out fliers to teammates in the locker room before Game 4, inviting them to his party at a Dallas nightclub.

After Johnson called off the practice, the team then chose to conduct a players-only practice, an odd occurrence, especially the day before an elimination playoff game. Players were unavailable for comment Monday, but at Tuesday’s shoot-around several players claimed nothing out of the ordinary about the circumstances that led to the coach-free practice session.

Howard declined to comment after the Hornets ended the Mavs’ season Tuesday. He sat at his locker, at times with his head in his hands.

“I™ll keep that to myself,” Howard said when asked about his emotions as he sat facing his locker.

And with that, the Mavericks have found a scapegoat for the way they were repeatedly torched by Chris Paul. Seriously, Jason Kidd owes Howard just a little bit of his playoff share for taking so much heat.