The Boston Celtics lost Wednesday’s night’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets 95-83, but they may have lost much more after a second quarter fight between the two teams resulted in three ejections, one of which sent star Boston guard Rajon Rondo to the locker room early. Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace of the Nets also hit the showers early for participating in the melee. The NBA will obviously be reviewing the video in the coming days and will likely be handing out several suspensions.
The scuffle all started with about 30 seconds remaining in the first half when Kevin Garnett drove to the basket, put up a shot and was fouled hard by Humphries. It only took about a second for Rondo to react, coming to Garnett’s defense with a push of Humphries. That’s when several players got involved, pushing and shoving one another, but referees determined no punches were thrown when viewing the video to decide who would receive the ejections.
“Obviously we are (worried about a possible suspension),” said Garnett via ESPN.com. Garnett was issued a technical foul, but was not tossed from the game. “But it’s what it is. You have to protect each other, and we consider ourselves family around here, and that’s just the way it is.”
Suspensions would certainly hurt both teams, but Rondo’s absence would probably be more detrimental to his squad. He came into the game with a 37-game streak of 10 assists of more, which was snapped after he was ejected with just three assists in 18 minutes. He remains tied for the second longest such streak in NBA history with John Stockton, but is nine games shy of Magic Johnson’s 46-game streak.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was displeased with his team, not just for the fighting, but for their sub par play.
“I don’t think anybody should get thrown out of a game,” Rivers said. “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 (fighting) stuff’s not toughness.”
On the other side, Nets coach Avery Johnson was happy with the tenacity his guys showed, although he didn’t necessarily condone the fighting.
We got some guys that aren’t going to back down,” Johnson said. “And, unfortunately, some of our guys got tossed, but it’s in the hands of the league right now. They’ll take a look at everything. I thought the referees did a good job of getting the game back under control, which was huge.”
Johnson added, “Mentally tough. Lot of fiber on our team. And a battle. They battled and they fought hard, literally I guess. And they just didn’t give in. They didn’t give in to any adversity tonight. We had a lot of adversity on the court on the road.”