WALTHAM, Mass. -- While Celtics coach Doc Rivers contended it was much ado about nothing, Rajon Rondo sneaked in a little jab at Dwyane Wade on Thursday amidst the fallout from the flagrant foul call at the end of Tuesday's season-opener in Miami.
Rondo discussed both the flagrant foul he received for grabbing Wade around the neck during a late drive to the basket and a technical foul he registered earlier in the fourth quarter. After Wade dubbed the flagrant a "punk play," and given the two players history of physical encounters, there's been much discussion about the latest dust-up in the aftermath.
"I mean, I don't think it was a hard foul," said Rondo. "[Wade] sold it a little bit. That's basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole, I didn't want to give up a layup. Simple as that. I didn't yank him down, or dirty plays that you've seen him play in the past. So that's what it is."
Earlier in the day, Rivers suggested that Rondo's foul was only a "punk play" if Wade's takedown of Rondo in the 2011 playoffs that dislocated his elbow was deemed the same. Rivers did seem amused that the play has become such a talking point.
"I thought it was nondescript. I really did," said Rivers. "[Rondo] grabbed him around the shoulders, it wasn’t that hard. So I think it’s much ado about nothing, personally. And I hate going back to [Rivers' playing] days, but, my gosh, that would have been maybe a foul. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But I guess it is."
Rivers was more concerned about cleaning up his defense that allowed 120 points in defeat. Read on for more on that, and other nuggets from practice:
* C'S WERE THINKING TOO MUCH: Rivers said, in hindsight, the week of practice leading up to Tuesday's opener might have backfired on Boston as he thinks his players might have been overwhelmed with game-planning. "Like I told them, from our standpoint, we had way too much time to prepare for it and we put too much stuff in their heads, and I thought they were thinking more than playing on instinct. I told our coaches, we share in that. We had them doing a couple different things, and that’s just not who we are defensively."
* TRANSITION, COMMUNICATION: When Celtics' players all use the same buzzwords, it's clear what has been drilled into their head during film session. Each player harped on transition defense and communication as the reasons for Boston's struggles in Miami. For example, here's Jeff Green on the lack of cohesion on the floor: "I think the only thing that hurt us was transition defense, and defense, period. I think we didn't communicate as well. I mean, offensively, I think we were there. We weren't on the same page all the way, but I think towards the end of the game, I think we got back on our toes." Later Green added, "We didn't communicate. If you don't communicate, it kind of throws everybody off the same page, and we didn't do a good job of that. That's something that we spoke on a lot today and that's something we've got to get better at."
* PIERCE OFFERS LEVITY: Asked if pundits were making too much about one loss, Celtics captain Paul Pierce said: "I don't know what you're all making of it." When a reporter quipped that it was essentially the end of the world, Pierce played along: "Well, let me get everything in, I've got to go, if it's the end of the world today."
* RONDO GETS TECHNICAL: Before engaging in the flagrant talk, Rondo explained his technical foul early in the fourth quarter. Rondo first joked to a reporter: "What are you trying to get me fined? I cannot talk about the refs." But then he tried to explain what happened. "Well, actually, on that particular play, I asked [the ref], 'What was the reason?' and I guess I still had my mouthpiece in, so the words didn't come out of my mouth correctly at first anyway. But I got the tech and that's what it is." A follow-up asked if he had cursed with his mouthpiece in. "No, I didn't curse at him. If you see the film, I told him that I thought he hooked me, and I was walking towards him, and that's where the respect of the game rules come into play. And popped with a tech."