Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It may be possible that Rajon Rondo
doesn't have a clue how important he is to the Boston Celtics.
The scarier realization is that maybe he does know, but just can't control
Either way, Rondo's actions in Wednesday night's fracas with the Brooklyn Nets
will once again cost Rondo and his team.
On Thursday, it won't matter what Rondo knows about himself or his
importance to the Celtics. He will probably be missing a few games for his
Rondo was the antagonist in Wednesday's melee with the Nets and Kris
Humphries. He is likely to get suspended for his actions and if you don't
believe me in assessing the blame to Rondo, maybe you'll believe the guy in
charge of sorting it out.
"Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after (Humphries') foul,"
Wednesday's referee and crew chief James Capers told a pool reporter.
Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett on a fall-away jumper and Garnett hit the
floor. It was a hard foul and anytime a player is in the air, there's a
possibility of harm.
After Garnett hits the ground, Rondo comes in a starts a "fight" with
Humphries that spills into the stands at the TD Garden. That carries an
Was the response proportionate to the foul? No, it wasn't and if you don't
believe me in assessing the blame, maybe you'll believe the injured party.
"Just a hard foul," Garnett said of Humphries' foul. "I thought the antics
after it were a bit extra, but it was a hard foul."
It was a hard foul and maybe the response should've been something closer to a
face-to-face and some blue language.
What Rondo created probably didn't harm the Celtics too badly on Wednesday
night. They were getting clobbered already and eventually lost the game.
That is what bothered Celtics' coach Doc Rivers the most. It wasn't the
physical fight, it was the lack of fight his team showed on the court.
"I don't think anybody should get thrown out of a game," Rivers said after the
game. "We all have to keep our emotions, you know. I mean, hell, we didn't
come to play; as a team, that was awful, basketball-wise. I thought, if I'm
Brooklyn and the league, you've got to think we're pretty soft the way we're
playing. We're a soft team right now; we have no toughness. And that stuff's
not toughness. All that stuff, that's not toughness."
But Rondo is definitely going to be suspended for his actions. He should be
and this won't be the first time.
Rondo didn't like a call in Game 1 of last season's first round of the
playoffs and got tossed from that game. He screamed at referee Marc Davis,
then bumped him.
The Celtics were four points behind the Atlanta Hawks with less than a minute
to go in that Game 1. How can Rondo get himself ejected at that point, and by
bumping Davis, how can he put himself in a position to be suspended, which he
was for Game 2?
Emotions are powerful. There is no professional athlete, or human being,
immune from anger. Gandhi probably got a little steamed if his soup came out
And the Celtics have cultivated a family environment within their locker room.
Garnett is the big brother and what's you reaction when you see big brother
going down? Of course you're angry. And basketball-wise, yeah, maybe you need
to send a message to the other team that we aren't going to be pushed around.
But Rondo needs to be better than that.
Fast-forward to Wednesday and Rondo is going to get multiple games for this.
He has been deemed the cause of this ugly-looking situation. He has his own
personal history going against him and he has to accept it.
Rondo isn't some dumb kid. He's 26 and in his seventh season in the league.
You can't start a fight that pours into the stands. Probably should've never
done it, but after the ugliness at the Palace years ago, you will get
suspended and for a decent chunk of games.
And don't think Rondo's absence couldn't possibly hurt the Celtics. Let's say
low-ball figure is three games. That could separate Boston in already much-
improved Atlantic Division from first and fourth. That could mean a first-
round matchup with the Heat and adios go the Celtics.
Boston can't roll the ball on the floor, put Rondo, Garnett and Paul Pierce
out there and just expect to win anymore. The division has caught up. Brooklyn
already owns two wins over the C's and the Philadelphia 76ers are 1-0 against
their long-time rivals.
The Celtics have games against an improved Milwaukee Bucks and a home-and-home
in back-to-back nights with Philly in their next four games. Too many losses
pile up without Rondo and Boston, which is already fourth in the Atlantic in
the early going, could be close to six or seven games out.
And Rondo even hurt himself with the ejection. His streak of 37 straight games
with double-digits in assists was snapped. Rondo settled for a tie for second
for the longest such streak. And if you don't think that matters to Rondo or
the Celtics, remember Rivers inserted Rondo back in a game earlier this season
to get to 10 assists.
Rondo is an elite player and embodies everything that used to be great about
the game. He is a tenacious defender, excellent penetrator who genuinely cares
more about getting his teammates involved than himself. He should be a
perennial fixture in the top 10 in MVP voting.
Instead, Rondo has assumed the role of team policeman. That's not what the
Celtics need from Rondo. They need him to do the job at which he excels and
furthermore, they need to him to be on the floor as much as possible.
Rondo needs to be better than he was Wednesday night.
- For the record, I think Rondo gets five games. The incident wasn't that
awful, but with Rondo's history, the fact it went into the stands and the
damning statement from the ref, I don't see too much leniency.
- The Lakers scored 77 points in a home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
The general consensus is that the team needs to wait for Steve Nash to return
before it can really start clicking on offense. I bet Mike Brown feels exactly
the same way.
- Andrew Bogut announced that he had a more serious microfracture surgery on
his ankle in April. Why did Bogut and the Warriors keep it a secret? Maybe the
Warriors didn't want to look bad for trading for damaged goods? Deception is
never the answer.
- Yay Wizards! Things won't get much better when John Wall returns. There just
isn't a lot of talent there.
- According to ESPNNewYork.com, Amare Stoudemire is willing to come off the
bench when he returns. That's good news, I suppose, but what choice would
Stoudemire have? If he makes a stink about starting, after the great
basketball the Knicks are playing, he'd be the most selfish player in the NBA
and that is saying something. That being said, the Knicks would trade
Stoudemire in a nanosecond.
- The Houston Rockets flew to Minnesota for head coach Kevin McHale's daughter
Sasha's funeral on Wednesday, then flew to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder
in James Harden's return to his old team. The Rockets lost, but that's a rough
day. The Rockets, and interim head coach Kelvin Sampson, deserve a lot of
credit. They are 7-8 and, in addition to acquiring Harden about a half hour
before the start of the season, Sasha McHale's death and Kevin's absence,
they've dealt with the Royce White situation off the court. Wonder if this
run, where Sampson is 4-5, puts him at the top of head-coaching lists.
- Movie moment - I'm so delighted that we are through the final installment of
the "Twilight" series. Admittedly, I've seen two of them, and if you get past
the paleness of the stars and the inevitable questions of how a family of
vampires can get approved for a mortgage, the movies are embarrassing. I
laughed out loud in the theater once and was scolded by high-schoolers. I
don't care. They are horrendous. Good riddance.
- TV moment - I'm sure that kid from "Two and a Half Men" is going to donate
the $50 million or so he's made from that "filth" to his new church, right?
Listen, no one should watch "Two and a Half Men" to begin with, but Angus T.
Jones' rant makes me want to.
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