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NEW YORK -- The NBA suspended Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo for one game Monday for making contact with a game official and failure to cooperate with a league investigation.
|Rajon Rondo was suspended for making contact with referee Rodney Mott and then not cooperating with the NBA.|
Rondo served his suspension during Boston's 102-96 win over the New York Knicks on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Jason Terry slid into the starting lineup alongside Avery Bradley in the Celtics' backcourt.
Whistled for an offensive charge with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter of the Celtics' 89-81 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Rondo made contact with official Rodney Mott while protesting the call. The Celtics had just capped a 19-point rally with Rondo feeding Jared Sullinger for the go-ahead basket on the previous Boston possession.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was fined $15,000 by the NBA for inappropriate interaction with game officials following the game. Ferry reportedly handed an official a video of Rondo making contact with Mott. But players and team officials are prohibited from approaching game officials after the game, which led to Ferry being fined.
Before Monday's game in New York, Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters there was a conversation between Rondo and the league about the incident, but said he believes the league might have already made up its mind by that point.
"Not much reaction, I'm just disappointed," Rivers said. "I actually saw it when it happened and I didn't think anything of it, honestly -- and obviously, the official [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."
This is the fourth suspension in less than one year for Rondo, including his third for incidents involving game officials. Rondo was suspended two games for throwing a ball at a game official in Detroit in February, then served a one-game suspension for bumping an official in Atlanta during a Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Hawks. In late November, Rondo was suspended two games for an incident with Brooklyn's Kris Humphries that saw the two enter the stands during a physical confrontation.
When a reporter asked Rivers if he was worried about Rondo's reputation working against him from now on, Rivers quipped, "From now on?!"
How can Boston fix that moving forward?
"We just work on it every day," Rivers said. "He's going to play a long time, and he has a lot of time to change (his reputation)."
Celtics guard Courtney Lee said he was taken aback by the suspension.
"I kind of am surprised because usually when a play like that happens during the game, everybody notices it," Lee said. "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."