This wasn’t the first time Rajon Rondo and the Celtics have been involved in a scuffle. But this time, Rondo wasn’t donning green and white.
It all started when Jae Crowder lowered his shoulder into Jimmy Butler, who may have flopped on the contact. When Butler hit the deck with Jae Crowder at his feet, Butler clamped on to Crowder’s right leg as Crowder awkwardly landed on top of him.
When Crowder came down, he immediately got upset and shoved Butler with the ball before pretending to back off. When Isaiah Thomas and Taj Gibson walked in to break it up, Michael Carter-Williams hurried in from behind to get to Butler.
But Thomas gave Williams a little shove, which set Rajon off. Rondo grabbed at Thomas, which led to some jawing and finger pointing before they were separated by Butler of all people.
The result was a technical for Butler, Rondo, Thomas and Crowder.
“I was just in there and Rondo pushed me, so I’m not gonna let anybody push me,” Thomas said per MassLive.. “I don’t know. It’s always fine the way to see what I say and see what I do. I gotta do a better job of controlling, I guess, myself and just walk away.”
Thomas’ perspective may be a step or two behind the tape, but he reacted based on how he saw it.
“I wasn’t even doing anything and somebody comes and puts their hands on me. But, it is what it is and we just have to do a better job of that.”
Thomas got in there because he saw something was going down with Crowder and Butler, who have a bit of an unclear history.
“I mean, I just wanted to know what was going on,” Thomas said. “My teammate and them talking and doing that, I’m always gonna be in the mix. But I wasn’t the guy that rondo should have pushed. It is what it is.”
It was a fitting tribute to Kevin Garnett, who was subtly introduced through the shadows as the newest addition to the Inside the NBA crew -- although that could always be another 6’12” legend with an identical goatee.
This Chicago evening was a bizarre one, in which Dwyane Wade hit four threes in a regular season game for the first time since January 8, 2013 and Isaiah Thomas missed more free throws than he made.
As Thomas said per MassLive’s Jay King, “S--- happens, but that was weird.”
The Celtics outshot the Bulls 50.0% to 39.1%, which would mean a win in nearly every situation. But when they get beat on the glass offensive glass by 15 rebounds, which Chicago converted into a a +13 second chance point margin, efficient shooting may not save you.
But Brad Stevens walked away with some silver linings, which were far and few between in the rebounding department.
“Vivid in my mind is Avery snatching rebounds while others boxed out,” he said. “That’s the way we’re gonna have to be.”
Perhaps the final real rebound contest of the game summed up the state of affairs better than anything. Jimmy Butler nearly airballed a shot, which fell just under the basket before bouncing out of bounds. It should have been an easy defensive rebound, but both Bulls rebounders had the box out on the Celtics. Stevens’ team got lucky as the ball fell just out of reach and resulted in the Celtics’ ball, but seemingly everything Thursday night was just out of reach.
But of all the oddities that graced the TNT broadcast Thursday night, we will always be left with this image.
Probably the most Shaq has contributed to analyzing basketball since he retired. pic.twitter.com/whRs7vyToH— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA)