Updated at 3:12 p.m. with Rondo talking to NBA security
Rajon Rondo did the one thing no team wants to see from its leader in the postseason: He got himself ejected for something that shouldn’t have happened.
And now the Boston Celtics, who dropped the first game of their NBA playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, face the prospect of losing Rondo for a while after he was ejected for bumping a ref Sunday.
“It affects us a lot — there goes our leader,’’ Kevin Garnett said (via Boston.com). “But, at the same time, you know, whatever the decision is, we have to be able to play without him. And we will be prepared either way.
“He’s our young leader. He’s very professional, he’s learned from countless situations he’s been in. He’s progressed as a young man and young leader. There are a lot of personalities around here. We don’t follow just because [Coach] Doc [Rivers] says follow. We follow Rondo for a reason. Doc’s system is predicated on hard work and playing hard. Obviously, we want certain personnel in positions, but the team is built so it runs continually like a wheel.
“He’s Voltron, he’s our black lion, but we’re going to continue to be who we are and [give a] better effort for Game 2.’’
Rondo, who had 20 points (10-for-18) and 11 assists, admitted that the bump looked bad. He was angry because Brandon Bass had been whistled for a foul as he battled Josh Smith for a loose ball and yelled at ref Marc Davis. He was hit with a technical and collided with Davis. As collisions go, it was a minor fender-bender, but his ejection was instanteous.
“Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech,” Rondo, who was tossed with 41 seconds left and the Celtics down by four, said. “As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot.”
Now Rondo and the Celtics will wait for a ruling from the NBA on a suspension that former ref Tim Donaghy tells WEEI could be for two games. He was suspended two games in February for tossing the ball at ref Sean Wright. “It's out of my control,” Rondo said. “Obviously, I want to be there for my teammates, but other than that, it's out of my control.”
Rondo, according to Rivers, spoke with NBA security today. “Rondo talked to league security this morning and hopefully we'll know sooner than later, that's the one thing we would always like,” Rivers said. “We'll find out and we'll be ready to play basketball when they tip it off [Tuesday].”
Stern wasn’t giving any indication about what the league might do. “I don't want to pre-judge on what the recommendation is going to be,” Stern said on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” today. “But as a fan, he obviously bumped him. And you know what happens with respect to that. ...We have a hard and fast rule. Unless somebody trips you and sends you into him, nobody touches a referee.”