Rondo: A Loyal Defender


With under a minute left in last night’s Celtics/Nets game at the Garden, an unnecessary (but not egregious) extracurricular push by Kris “challenging public persona” Humphries to Kevin Garnett’s airborne shot continuation body provoked a Rajon Rondo reaction that ultimately results in the question of “how many games?” rather than “will he be suspended?” The tweetbookosphere has erupted with varying opinions of whether Rondo’s audience set (a NBA no no) scrum was justified as sticking up for his big brother teammate KG or a completely superfluous overreaction that will only cost the Celtics further harm (especially if Rondo is missing multiple games – a strong likelihood). As a viewer watching live at home, my initial reaction was an adrenaline burst (honestly, when was the last time the Celtics had this kind of altercation, Ralph Sampson’s bullying of Jerry Sichting in ’86?) and a desire to understand the flurry of activity that all happened so fast. In this understanding lies my ultimate take: when a player excessively goes after a Celtic, Rondo will react (I have seen him do this push thing before). I can see both sides of why this is acceptable, but most of the time, the result may be at worse a harmless technical while openly acknowledging that Rondo has his teammates back. After the dozens of replays, I think Rondo had a normal Rondo reaction. KG was on the floor. Kris Humphries was the reason, and Rondo was going to let him know about it. It would have all been over, but unfortunately, the former Ms. Kardashian (what a bizarre chapter looking back) tried to grab the Celtics floor leader in a push lock, fought back, and finally maintained a strong hold for way too long and in the wrong location (into the audience). It was an overreaction to a reasonable reaction that in some cases (as was the case last night) could have dire consequences for Rondo and the Celtics. Rondo took this risk (as he often does) to defend KG and last night things just got out of hand. If the NBA comes down with a 3 or 5 game mandatory rest, it is what it is. Rondo took a hard foul to the audience, but my hope is that they review his track record of reasonable teammate defender (Tommy Heinsohn rightfully applauded this, sorry Ric Bucher, I don’t agree with you) and give him a little leeway. At 8-7 and with a defense that seems to be all out of sorts when KG is on the bench, this is a critical time for Celtics Nation. Let us hope that Rondo’s absence is as short-lived as possible…

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