Rajon Rondo has been suspended for 1 game for bumping an official in yesterdays playoff game so he will miss tues nits gm 2 vs atlanta— Mike Dowling (@MDowlingWCVB) April 30, 2012
As expected, the league dropped the hammer on Bumpgate with a one-game suspension on Rondo for Game 2 tomorrow night.
By the letter of the law, Rondo deserved it and Stern intimated that this morning on The Herd. (Just a quick side bar: I hate it when Stern starts any sentence with "as a fan." He said that a lot during the lockout. Commissioner, you're not a fan. You're the commissioner. You'll never hear Barack Obama say, "well, as a tax payer...") OK, so you can't touch a ref. I get that, but whether it was an accidental trip or an intentional chest bump, the NBA has a lot to be desired when it comes to its officiating. These guys are letting it get to their heads that they're untouchable. It's becoming an epidemic. From Jeff Van Gundy's tirade about Lebron's flopping in Game 1 to Stephen A. Smith's criticism this morning on ESPN's First Take, the league is deservedly taking it on the chin. When I'm begging on my couch that Shaq, Barkley, and Kenny Smith should officiate these games, you know there's a problem.
Now, it's hard to take Tim Donaghy's word on anything basketball, but here's what he had to say about Marc Davis on Dennis & Callahan this afternoon:
Davis is one of those guys that has rabbit ears for certain people. He's a referee that thinks people pay for their tickets to come and see him. He's one of those guys that has a little bit of an ego. So, I'm sure it's not the first time that he's had a problem with Rondo, or something else happened in that game for Rondo to go after him and bump him over that call right there during that point of the game. Something else triggered that.
"Something else triggered that?" Hmmm. I'd be remiss not to include @MrTrpleDouble10's great work cutting together Davis' bad calls from the Hawks game on April 11th. Some of his whistles come from the other side of the court where he doesn't have the best vantage point.
But really, whether or not Davis invites this kind of spotlight is irrelevant. To me, I don't think Rondo commands the level of respect that he should be. Sure, he's young and brash, but he's also a three-time All Star and the league leader in assists. What he did was stupid and definitely reprehensible, but I'm not sure he's being treated as the superstar he is right now. Forsberg makes the argument that Rondo's contact with Davis is no different than Hedo Turkoglu's or Robin Lopez, but the fact of the matter is, that was Hedo Turkoglu and Robin Lopez. A team's frustration should be funneled through its leaders and for the Celtics, Rondo is one of them. Discounting the situation where the game is in the balance and what should have been called a jump ball became a loose ball fall on Brandon Bass, Rondo should have been given some leeway.
There are throngs of fans out there upset with Rondo and calling for Voltron's head on a plate, but I'll side with Doc on this one:
Rondo's an emotional player. I'd rather tend to a fire than start one. I like his fire. And sometimes it burns you. You know what I mean? I like the fire that he has. Someone asked the question: Why was he involved? Because he's into the game. He's a fighter for his team. You didn't want him to go that far, obviously. It's just who he is. It's also what makes him great. It's that fine line that you gotta walk and every once in a while he crosses it.
Game 2 is on NBATV tomorrow night. We can call that "national television," but I'm still going to have to go to my gym and sit on a stationary bike for 3 hours to watch it because I don't have DirecTV. Win or lose, it's going to be another bar fight and we're not going to have our toughest SOB out there, but look out for Game 3. It's a Friday night and Rondo will be on five day's rest. That game's on ESPN2 and everyone's going to be watching. In a way, the suspension is just another hurdle the team has to get over and they've been great dealing with adversity. You certainly don't want to wake a sleeping dog, especially with a bucket of cold water and a kick in the balls.