Rajon Rondo says he plays with an “edge” that separates him from other point guards in the NBA. That “edge,” however, has cost the Boston Celtic floor leader another two-game suspension for his role as the instigator of a fracas against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
Rondo shoved Kris Humphries after the Nets’ forward applied a hard foul to Kevin Garnett in the second quarter of what would become a Brooklyn win. Humphries grabbed Rondo, and a brief melee ensued that pushed back into the first row of fans along the baseline.
For Rondo, it is one thing to have a teammate’s back. It is another thing, however, to control his emotions so he remains on the court.
“I know I have to be out there for my teammates,” he said. “That’s the only thing about it. But I was sticking up for my teammates. 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 he made on Kevin, that’s all.”
Actually, this isn’t it. He has to control his temper. Rondo was suspended two playoff games last year for his actions against the Atlanta Hawks. Coach Doc Rivers called Rondo’s outbursts “emotional hijacks” that he has to harness.
Rondo said: “This game is a contact sport, it’s an emotional game. I play with an edge every night. I think that’s what separates me from a lot of guys. So I’m not going to let that take me away from my game. I didn’t do anything dirty. This is a new day and era, the style of how we play the game. Back in the day, the ball would have been checked up, some free throws would have been made and we would have kept going. But, it’s a new era, and we’ve got different rules now.”
So follow them.
“The one Rondo understands is he can’t allow himself to be taken out of the game,” Rivers said. “Now, again, I don’t think he had any intentions when it started. I don’t think he went in there thinking, ‘We’re going to get in a fight.’ I’m just going to stand up for my guy and got his legs up under him. Unfortunately the other guy reacted. Rondo reacted back. And then, now you’re out. Again, it’s snap, it’s quick, and it could happen to any of us, and it has happened to me.”
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said on his Boston radio show that he is not especially not particularly worried about Rondo’s pattern of incidents.
“I believe that Rondo is maturing all the time,” Ainge said. “It doesn’t mean that he’s not going to have two or three of these things — hopefully not this type of thing again this year. But I love Rondo’s emotion. He’s got to learn, and I think that he is learning, and I’m not as worried about Rondo as others might be.”