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Rondo loses his head as Celtics lose opener

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  April 29, 2012 07:46 PM

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Celtics Lose.jpgMarquette University honored Doc Rivers as its Alumnus of the Year on Saturday.

But it was the Atlanta Hawks who schooled Rivers and the Boston Celtics Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo decided to act like he was in kindergarten, threw a tantrum, got ejected and is looking at a serious timeout.

Rondo's inner-child returned like Chucky in the final minute of Boston's 83-74 Game 1 loss to the Hawks. But this wasn't "Child's Play," even though it was incredibly childish.

Brandon Bass was called for a foul on Josh Smith after they wrangled over a loose ball with 41 seconds to play. The Celtics had cut Atlanta's once 19-point lead down to four and would have gotten at least two more possessions with just the foul call. But Rondo wanted a jump ball instead of the foul along with the rest of Celtics Nation and about half the fans at Phillips Arena.

While we screamed at the TV, Rondo did us one better and tore into Davis while smacking his hands in front of the ref. That was good for a technical. Game over at that point. But as Davis walked away, Rondo followed, stumbled for a step, then threw a chest bump into Davis' back.

Watch it for yourself:

Arguing a call at such a key point in the game - questionable.

Yelling and pointing at the ref in the first game of playoffs - disappointing.

Chest bumping the ref from behind while he was walking away - idiotic, selfish and immature.


Attacking an official from behind, whether it's with your hands or body, gets you banned in Little League.

But this is the NBA. Acting like children and fathering children are both prized character traits.

"I deserved the first tech," Rondo said after the game. "As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into me. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn't intentionally chest-bump him, but that's what it appears to be. It's out of my control."

Later, he offered some more excuses:

Charles Barkley nailed it with his TNT post-game assessment of Rondo's claim: "He's lying."

Rondo's problem is just that - a lack of control. Bass got the foul whistled against him and shrugged his shoulders. Rondo decided to run the ref.

(As an aside, the TNT telecast of the game offered up a commercial for "That's My Boy," the upcoming Adam Sandler flick that features a cameo by Rex Ryan. Got to wondering when was the last time either one of those guys produced a winner?)

Rondo is looking at a minimum of a one-game suspension, especially given his track record and the two-game ban he got for tossing a ball at an official during another tantrum in February.

Four weeks ago, we called out Rondo for showboating on national TV at the expense of those mundane contests against New Jersey and Toronto. Sunday was no exception. Rondo led the Celtics with 20 points on 10-for-18 shooting, and had game-highs of 11 assists and four steals along with his game-high two technicals. He played well enough to put the Celtics in position to win and then cemented the loss. If the Celtics had been able to complete their comeback Sunday, the Hawks would have been finished.

The Celtics came out flat, lifeless and lazy. They had more rust than the Longfellow Bridge. The Hawks played young, big and fast while the Celtics plodded through the first 40 minutes looking old, small and slow. Rondo's lopsided scoring was by design in this game, as the Hawks smothered Paul Pierce. The Truth hurt badly as he shot a horrendous 5 for 19, missing all six of his three-point attempts. Boston's backcourt of Rondo and Avery Bradley combined for 30 shots, 30 points and one ejection. The Celtics, however, failed to hit a 3-pointer for the first time in a postseason game since a 99-98 double OT loss to the Charlotte Hornets at the old Garden on May 1, 1993.

It wasn't for lack of trying, as Boston went 0 for 11 from behind the arc.

Ray Allen, you were missed.

Smith was the superior No. 5 on the floor Sunday, scoring 22 points and looking like a younger, bigger and quicker version of Kevin Garnett most of the night. Too bad those trade rumors involving Smith and the Celtics were just that, rumors.

Rondo's outburst and volatility were not surprising. The timing was catastrophic. Whatever hope the Celtics had in forcing OT Sunday was evaporated with the first technical. Jeff Teague and Kirk Hinrich played Rondo and Bradley evenly, combining for 27 points and hitting six of eight 3-pointers. Without Rondo and (most likely) Allen in Game 2, the Celtics could extend that 3-pointless string another 48 minutes.

For all of the maturity, experience and veteran skill the "big, bad" Celtics bring to the postseason, they still can't keep Rondo from being Rondo. Let me guess, this is just Rondo's "competitive nature" showing itself. There's passion and fire. Hit opposing players, but not the ref. Professional athletes figure out where the line is and usually straddle it as best they can. It's the fine difference between "Cowboy Up" and "Chicken and Beer." Drink in the clubhouse all you want as long - as it doesn't affect the outcome. Play aggressively all the time and argue calls one in a while, but you can't attack the refs and potentially cost your team a a game or two at the start of the playoffs. Especially as the team's floor leader.

Marquette had several distinguished alumni - not including D-Wade - who offered Doc real competition for his honor. In the meantime, they told me they wanted their degree back when they heard about this blog.

Rondo needs few more degrees of maturity.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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