After Wednesday night’s brawl between the Celtics and Nets, it was expected that the league would take action and punish some of the players involved with suspensions. Because he was deemed to be the instigator of the situation, Rajon Rondo is the only player that ended up receiving a suspension, as Gerald Wallace (who was ejected from the game) and Kevin Garnett got off with fines. Garnett’s was $25,000 for “escalating the altercation.”
“I know I have to be out there for my teammates,” Rondo 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.”
Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, reveled the length of the suspension would be two games during an interview on Boston Sports Radio, WEEI. Although Ainge refused to analyse the situation, he appeared to be displeased with the ruling and with the fact that Rondo would miss the next two games.
“I don’t want to get into that,” Ainge said on the show via ESPN.com. “Maybe a little bit excessive in my mind. I think that it escalated into the crowd. I think that’s probably part of it. But, anyways, it’s disappointing. It’s frustrating. I’ll talk to Rondo about it and I’ll leave it at that.”
Even though none of the Nets players involved received suspensions, (Wallace was fined $35,000) Brooklyn GM Billy King also disagreed with the disciplinary action from the league and its executive VP of basketball operations Stu Jackson.
“Let’s just put it this way: I had a lengthy conversation with Stu Jackson in which we agreed to disagree,” King said. “Stu has a tough job at the league, and they make decisions, (that) from a team standpoint, you don’t agree with, but they have to make tough decisions. I don’t want to share my conversation with him because I don’t think that’s fair because his job is tough.”
Ainge said Rondo is unlikely to appeal the suspension, as many players often do, meaning he will miss Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Saturday’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Even though this is the third time Rondo has been suspended in the last nine months, Ainge is confident Rondo is maturing. Ainge also admitted that Rondo will always display emotion in helping his team and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I think that Rondo — I believe that he is learning,” Ainge said. “I believe that Rondo is maturing all the time. 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.”