Rondo Suspended for Game 2 in Atlanta

A scramble for a loose ball resulted in much more than a loss of possession for Boston.

The league announced Boston point guard Rajon Rondo will be suspended for Game 2 of its series with Atlanta Tuesday night.

The incident came in the final minute of the series opener.

Atlanta led 78-74 with 41 seconds remaining and the ball, but Joe Johnson had his dribble poked away and Boston forward Kevin Garnett dove on the ground in an attempt to recover.

Josh Smith knocked the ball in the air away from Garnett and then wrestled with Brandon Bass on the ground for possession.

Referee Marc Davis blew his whistle, but instead of signaling for a jump ball, which Rondo thought was coming, signaled Bass for a foul.

Rondo screamed in Davis’ face, drawing a technical foul. As Davis was signaling to the scorers table the foul, Rondo bumped him from behind and was immediately ejected.

A four point deficit quickly expanded to seven as Johnson knocked down the technical foul shot and Smith converted both of his free throws.

Atlanta tacked on two more foul shots and escaped with an 83-74 victory in Game 1.

Following the game, Rondo offered his side of the story to

“Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc,” said Rondo. “I deserved the first tech and, as I was walking, I thought (Davis) stopped, my momentum carried me into him — I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. But that’s what it appears to be.”

Commissioner David Stern followed the NBA rule book, which 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.”

Without Rondo on the floor Tuesday, the Celtics could be returning to Boston down 0-2 in the series. Boston’s back court was already thin as Ray Allen is still recovering from an ankle injury and is doubtful for Tuesday after missing the series opener.

Rondo matched Garnett’s team-high with 20 points, along with 11 assists, four steals and four rebounds.

Rondo led the league in assists this season and has recorded 10 or more in 24 consecutive games.

Earlier in the year, Rondo was suspended for two games after tossing a ball at an official for not granting him a foul call.

Twelve different players were whistled for technical fouls last weekend, but Rondo was the only player to be ejected.

During the regular season he drew eight technical fouls and was ejected once, for throwing the ball at an official in Detroit.

Even among the Big-3, Rondo has become an emotional leader in Boston, the Celtics just need him to keep his composure.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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