NBA Suspends Rondo for Two Games
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics will be forced to play their next two games without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
The NBA on Thursday suspended Rondo for his role in Wednesday night’s altercation with Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries. Humphries had committed a foul on Kevin Garnett with 29.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter that resulted in a lengthy shoving match.
Doc Rivers told the media after Thursday’s practice that he always prepares for the worst and hopes for the best, but Rondo was active along with the team during practice. There was lasting hope at that time that the point guard would be available for Friday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. That hope has since been thwarted.
"Whatever the consequences are, that's what they are,” Rondo told reporters after practice. “I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than a pushing war. That's about it."
That pushing war lasted about 30 seconds and resulted in several players tumbling into the courtside seats along the baseline. That factor is what worried Rivers most before the league’s announcement.
“The only thing that would be (worrisome) is they went in the stands, which you never want,” said Rivers. “But there were no punches thrown or anything.”
Rivers, who refrained from commenting on the scuffle Wednesday night before watching it on film, gave much more insight regarding his take on the situation on Thursday.
“Really when you see it, I thought Rondo was trying to get [Humphries] away, and then [Humphries] kind of pulled Rondo into him, and that’s when everything started,” Rivers said. “So I don’t really believe he really went in there trying to fight. I don’t think anyone did. It just escalated, and that’s what happened.”
It escalated enough to warrant multiple ejections and a description by the game’s crew chief, James Capers, that included the word “fight.” Rivers strayed away from calling the altercation a fight, and he understands why Rondo may have become so upset.
“Even if I told you 20 times (never to react) and someone hits you twice, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to hit back,” Rivers hypothetically said to the media. “I mean, that’s the point I keep making. It’s easy for us sitting on the sideline to say, ‘Why did he react?!’ Well, I’d like to see somebody smack you in the head three times and see how you react.”
Rondo stood up for his actions on Thursday but also noted that he needs to be more cautious of maintaining his eligibility to play in games.
"I know I have to be out there for my teammates, that's the only thing about it," he said. "But I was sticking up for my teammate. I didn't try to start a fight. I'm not trying to be a bully. I just didn't think the play was fair that [Humphries] made on Kevin, that's all."
The latter part of that statement is likely along the lines of what Rondo told the league this morning. Rondo told reporters that he spoke to the league office about Wednesday’s altercation approximately an hour before Boston’s 1 p.m. practice.
"I told them the truth," said Rondo. "I don't know what's going to happen.”
Now he does. The truth is that the league believes Rondo’s actions were violent enough to warrant a two-game suspension. Boston, sitting at 8-7, will now need to figure out a way to stay above .500 this weekend while Rondo watches from afar.