WALTHAM — It has been two days since the Celtics were drubbed, 120-107, in their season opener against the Miami Heat, a game that ended with a flagrant foul by Rajon Rondo on Dwyane Wade, an arm around the shoulder that Wade thought was a clothesline and called a “punk move.”
Rondo does not expect any discipline from the NBA office and thinks the incident is being overblown. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Wade slipped away from Rondo for a layup and Rondo drew a technical for arguing a non-call on Wade for hooking him.
“What are you trying to do, get me fined? I cannot talk about the refs,” Rondo said. “On that particular play, I asked [the official] what was the reasoning, I guess. I still had my mouthpiece in; the words didn’t come out correctly at first anyway. I got the tech and that’s what it is.
“I told him that if you see the film, I told him I thought he hooked me. I walked toward him and that’s where the ‘Respect the Game’ rules come into play, and popped with a tech.”
About seven minutes later, with 16.9 seconds left in the game and the Celtics headed for defeat, Rondo grabbed Wade, who took issue with the foul and then was removed.
“I didn’t think it was a hard foul,” said Rondo. “He sold it a little bit and that’s basketball.’’
Celtics coach Doc Rivers also insists the incident was exaggerated.
“I thought it was nondescript, I really did,” he said. “ I hate going back to our days [of playing in the 1980s and ’90s], but my gosh that would have been maybe a foul. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but I guess it is.”
Too much information
Rivers said the Celtics may have had too much time to prepare for the Heat. The Celtics played their final preseason game Oct. 21, giving them nine days to focus on the Heat. Miami, on the other hand, played its final preseason game Oct. 26.
“I thought, from a coaches’ standpoint, we had way too much time to prepare for it and we put way too much stuff in their head,” Rivers said. “And I thought they were thinking more than playing on instinct. I told our coaches, I thought we shared in that [blame]. I thought we did a couple of different things.’’
A new weapon
Rivers is thoroughly impressed with veteran Leandro Barbosa, who came off the bench to score 16 points in 16 minutes against the Heat. Barbosa made six of eight shots, including all three 3-pointers.
“He’s been playing unbelievable,” Rivers said. “The first practice, I was like, ‘How the hell was he [a free agent]?’ And he does things that drive you nuts, but the good news is we have so many guys that when he does that, you can put somebody else in.”