- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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ATLANTA -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for Game 2 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Atlanta Hawks for making contact with a game official, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announced Monday.
Rondo chest-bumped referee Marc Davis with 41 seconds remaining in Sunday's 83-74 Game 1 loss at Philips Arena, earning his second technical and automatic ejection. Rondo, who earned both technicals while vehemently protesting a foul call against teammate Brandon Bass, said after the game that the bump was unintentional, but the league apparently viewed it as otherwise.
This is Rondo's second referee-related suspension in three months. He was also suspended for two games in February after zipping a ball at an official.
The NBA rulebook states, "Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate."
Appearing on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on Monday, NBA commissioner David Stern said, "We have a hard and fast rule. Unless somebody trips you and sends you into him, nobody touches a referee. That's the proposition."
"Obviously, from a competitive standpoint we are disappointed with the league's decision to suspend Rondo," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following announcement of the suspension. "He plays a valuable part in our team's success. We accept the punishment and will use it as a learning tool for our players."
Despite Rondo's suspension, Rivers said earlier in the day that he wouldn't be tempted to rush ailing shooting guard Ray Allen back into the lineup for Game 2.
Allen sat out Game 1 due to lingering pain with a right ankle that will require surgery after the season to remove bone spurs. Rivers had dubbed Allen at "50/50" before Sunday's game, but he was unable to go. Allen was back on the floor getting up shots as the team prepared to practice Monday afternoon, but Rivers suggested he didn't think Allen would be ready for Game 2.
"If Ray is not ready, he's not ready," said Rivers. "One thing I don't do -- I'll never do it, and maybe I'm wrong in it -- I don't ever put a guy out if he isn't ready. I just won't put him on the floor. If Ray told me he could play and [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] said he didn't think he could play, Ray would not play. That's just the way it is. [Allen] said he felt a little better, but I don't see it right now."
Allen sat out the final nine games of the regular season (and 15 of the final 19 overall) due to the ankle issue (he has received multiple cortisone shots trying to reduce the pain). Allen said Sunday that he doesn't want to be a liability when he's on the floor and will wait until his ankle is healthy enough to allow him to compete at playoff intensity.
13hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann