The NBA announced its decision Monday, less than 24 hours after Rondo bumped his chest into referee Marc Davis’s back while complaining about a call in the final minute of Boston’s 83-74 loss in Game 1.
“I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him, but that’s what it appears to be,” Rondo said Sunday after the game.
Rondo was protesting a call with just 41 seconds left in the game 1 loss. The Celtics had made an amazing comeback to cut a 19-point Hawks lead to four when Rondo lost his composure after Davis called a foul on Boston forward Brandon Bass.
“Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech,” Rondo said. “As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot.”
The Celtics will now play Tuesday night in Atlanta without their leader as they try to even the series at one a piece.
Rondo, the NBA’s assist leader, scored 20 points and handed out 11 assists in the opener. That is a big hole to fill for the Celtics, who already playing without guard Ray Allen.
“If Ray is not ready, he’s not ready,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “One thing I don’t do — I’l never do it, and maybe I’m wrong in it — I don’t ever put a guy out if he isn’t ready. I just won’t put him on the floor. If Ray told me he could play and (team trainer) Eddie (Lacerte) said he didn’t think he could play, Ray would not play. That’s just the way it is. (Allen) said he felt a little better, but I don’t see it right now.”
The suspension will likely force Avery Bradley into the starting lineup.
This is yet another example of the immaturity of Rondo as this is Rondo’s second referee-related suspension in three months. He was also suspended for two games in February after throwing a ball at an official.
The NBA rulebook states, “Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate.”
Appearing on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Monday, NBA commissioner David Stern said, “We have a hard and fast rule. Unless somebody trips you and sends you into him, nobody touches a referee. That’s the proposition.”
“Obviously, from a competitive standpoint we are disappointed with the league’s decision to suspend Rondo,” Rivers said following announcement of the suspension. “He plays a valuable part in our team’s success. We accept the punishment and will use it as a learning tool for our players.”
As much as I love Rondo, I am getting tired of this nonsence. There is no doubt that he is one of the best points in the game, but the immaturity is extremely frustrating. He is expected to lead our team even single game. He can’t do that if he continues to get suspended for stupid decisions. The Celtics are going to have to have a serious conversation with Rondo regarding this consistent attitude. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett need to get into his head and make him realize this asap.
As much as I wish Rondo could be out there, as I am an avid Celtics fan, I agree with the suspension. You simply cannot make contact with an official, for any reason. Rondo will learn that the hard way, as he will be forced to watch his teammates go out there on Tuesday, without him.