NEW YORK -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was disappointed with the league's decision to suspend point guard Rajon Rondo due to contact with a game official in Boston's win on Saturday in Atlanta.
The league announced a one-game suspension on Monday while also citing a failure to cooperate with a league investigation. Rivers said there was a conversation between Rondo and the league about the incident, but believes the league might have already made up its mind by that point.
"Not much reaction, I’m just disappointed," said Rivers. "I actually saw it when it happened and I didn’t think anything of it, honestly -- and obviously, the official [Rodney Mott] didn’t either. They didn’t call a tech. But you know the old saying: You’re not given a reputation, you earn one. I’m sure that had a lot to do with it as well. Listen, we just move on, for us. I’m far more focused on the game tonight than that decision."
The Celtics will be without Rondo for Monday's tilt with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Jason Terry slides into the starting lineup alongside Avery Bradley for Boston.
When a reporter asked Rivers if he was worried about Rondo's reputation working against him from now on, Rivers quipped, "From now on?!" Rondo has been suspended four times in the past year, including three times for incidents with game officials.
How can Boston fix that moving forward?
"We just work on it, everyday," said Rivers. "He’s going to play a long time, and he has a lot of time to change (his reputation)."
Courtney Lee said he was taken aback by the news that Rondo had been suspended.
"I kind of am surprised, because usually when a play like that happens during the game, everybody notices it," said Lee. "And for it to be so minor during the game and not even the fans that were there, not even the other team or our team witnessed it, so..."
Lee trailed off, maybe realizing he didn't want to contribute any extra cash to the league for saying anything overly critical.
"You know, I don't want to say too much about that situation," said Lee. "I just didn't see it. I didn't see it."
Asked if it's frustrating to lose Rondo before a big game, Lee added: "Definitely. Something of that nature, of course, with our point guard being out. We've won two games in a row... and we're trying to get to three and continue to go, then when something like this happens, it's definitely a dagger to us. But other guys in the locker room have got to step up and go out there and perform."