Somewhere, John Stockton was either clapping his hands, laughing at Rajon Rondo as he decided to shove Kris Humphries into the front row, or he was shaking his head in disbelief of the lack of maturity that Rondo was displaying. Either way, Rondo’s actions meant that he was to be ejected from the game after playing about 18 minutes, he will receive a two-game suspension by the league, and his assist streak will come to a screeching halt after 37 games.
Rajon Rondo is now tied with John Stockton for the second longest streak in NBA history with double-digit assists, but Rondo did not pass him. In a game when Rondo has the chance to pass the hall-of famer on his remarkable assist streak and to be second only behind legendary playmaker Magic Johnson, what was he possibly thinking? Not to mention the fact that losing his cool would result in Boston trying to win a game against an Atlantic division beast in the Brooklyn Nets without their most relied upon player.
Assists are the most unselfish stat there is for a basketball player, but how about being a little bit selfish in this case. I mean how can he not want to pass John Stockton and continue his streak toward making history? Of course, winning the ball game should always be on a players mind, but on this night, getting as many assists as possible should have been Rondo’s primary focus.
If there is anything positive to take away from this altercation it is that Boston still has some fight in them. You don’t expect your smallest player to come in and fight to defend the team’s center; in fact you would expect the opposite. But Rondo’s actions show us that this team still cares about each other and are not going to be pushed around, especially by Kris Humphries. Maybe this will be what flips the switch and gets this team to start playing with a little bit more urgency.
But again, when we start talking about fights and toughness, the name Kenyon Martin begins to enter the mind. I mean the Celtics are still a good team. They have a number of very good pieces, they just cannot get a handle on the boards. We would have to think that once they figure out a way to get back to rebounding like an elite team, they will begin to play like an elite team. I mean is Kenyon Martin so far gone that he cannot even get a trial run? I’m not sure how much he could possibly disrupt the Celtics’ team at this point. Unless there are some ill feelings that I am unaware of I think that KG and K-Mart might actually mesh well as the team’s enforcers.
To give you a better idea about the rebounding situation in Boston, let’s just look at the game against the Nets as an example. The Rondo altercation took place in the second quarter and resulted in Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries being tossed out of the game as well. Because they are both top rebounders for the Nets and would miss the entire second half, we would think that maybe Boston could capitalize on their being absent and not be at a disadvantage on the boards.
At the end of the game however, The Celtics leading rebounders were comprised of Kevin Garnett with 10, Paul Pierce with nine, and guards Jason Terry and Courtney Lee each with four. As a team, the Celtics ended the game with 40 total rebounds. Now let’s look at the other end. Brook Lopez was limited in his playing time due to a foot sprain, but still managed 10 rebounds in 17 minutes. As a result of the entire Brooklyn frontline heading to the locker room early, Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans saw increased playing time. Evans finished with 10 rebounds off the bench, and Blatche had 17 points, 13 rebounds also off the bench. Together, Brooklyn finished with 50 rebounds, 10 more than Boston.
It will be interesting to see how patient Doc Rivers can remain, having to play Jason Collins and Chris Wilcox as the last big guys to make the rotation. Boston will be without Rajon Rondo as they host the Blazers tonight and travel to play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Saturday.