Blog Entry

No roundhouse from Rondo

Posted on: April 29, 2009 8:19 pm
CHICAGO -- I think the NBA got this exactly right. I think.

I'm not going to waste valuable time debating Dwight Howard's suspension; that one was easy. "Pretty cut and dried," Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of operations, said on a conference call with several reporters Wednesday afternoon. Jackson also revealed a piece of information that proves that NBA's system of reviewing every call and non-call actually works. None of the three officials actually saw Howard's lightning quick but blatant elbow that hit Samuel Dalembert in the head. Had they seen it, by rule it would've called for an automatic ejection. Since they didn't, that's why no flagrant foul was called, and it's why Howard wasn't ejected. Upon review, the NBA got that one right. But even the WWE could've gotten that one right.

The interesting case is Rondo, and it provides an especially delicious opportunity for debate. Not only did it happen on the same night, but it also provided another fertile debating point. This was a little man fouling a giant man, whereas the Howard incident was a giant picking on someone his own size.

Technically, the relative size of the players involved in a potentially flagrant foul shouldn't matter. But referees are human, and humans have to make decisions based on their experience and their ability to see something happening extremely fast. The most interesting point Jackson made came when he described the criteria for determining whether a foul crossed the line between a hard foul and a flagrant foul.

"In terms of the criteria that we use to evaluate a flagrant foul, penalty one, generally we like to consider whether or not there was a windup, an appropriate level of impact, and a follow through," Jackson said. "And with this foul, we didnt see a windup, nor did he follow through. And so for that reason, we’re not going to upgrade this foul to a flagrant foul, penalty one."

Jackson described Rondo's foul on the Bulls' Brad Miller -- an open-handed blow to the head which resulted in Miller missing a game-tying layup with two seconds left in overtime Tuesday night -- as a "basketball play." He said the league determined that Rondo was "going for the ball after a blown defensive assignment by the Celtic team." That's exactly what I saw at the game. Now I'm in Chicago, and when the local newscasts show the play in frame-by-frame slow motion, it drives home the point that Rondo realized he had no play on the ball and simply hit whatever he could -- that being Miller's face.

He didn't do it maliciously, and as Jackson said, he didn't wind up as if throwing a punch, nor did he follow through on the blow. Whereas Howard's play was blatant, Rondo's was borderline. It could've gone either way. The league made a reasonable choice, and backed its on-floor officials on this one. This is an important point. Had the foul been upgraded to a flagrant, it might've opened the door for the Bulls to file a protest because they would've been entitled to possession after the flagrant. The last thing this crazy and suddenly violent series would need is a protest. But more to the point, the officiating crews for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) are going to have to have control of the action. There cannot be any outside influence hanging over the action on the floor, or chaos will ensue.

I don't know -- and Jackson didn't say -- if that factored into the league's decision. I also don't know for sure if the league made the technically correct decision on Rondo. But it made the right one.


Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: May 1, 2009 1:23 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

I agree with Rand again.  And he's a Lakers fan.....this is just too weird.  Tongue out

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 5:17 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

Zion, you're right let's take the clothesline off the table.  But I do believe that some kind of message should be sent.

As an example, I believe that if Derek Fisher fouled Okur just as hard as Rondo did to Miller, and then the league didn't do anything, Jerry Sloan would make sure that a message was sent the next game.  In fact, I think the message sent would last an entire game if it were Sloan.  By the way, I happen to respect Sloan a lot. 

Somone also mentioned if it would have been a foul on Paul Pierce and the league didn't do anything how would people be reacting?  I believe that Doc Rivers would have a surprise in store for Chicago the next game. 

This shouldn't be about "ending someone's career", but it should be about sending a message to the other team that you aren't going to back down from a cheap shot. 

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 30, 2009 1:10 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

"...It drives home the point that Rondo realized he had no play on the ball and simply hit whatever he could -- that being Miller's face."  Isn't that exactly what the league is trying to prevent, fouls that have nothing to do with defense.  I think it is pretty weak of the NBA to let Rondo off without a suspension.  This just smacks of the league protecting their marquee teams, the Celtics, and discrimination against Miller for being a big guy.  I think Stu Jackson missed on this one.

Since: Jan 30, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 12:35 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo - Millers Revenge

As a Bulls fan I am rather worried about what Brad Miller will do this next game. I can see him going and hitting Rondo hard on a Rondo drive. Not that I don't think he should, but I think the officials will overreact and will for sure give him a tech foul or even eject him. Look what they did with his Tech foul against Big Baby. He didn't even make contact with Big Baby at all and he still got a tech foul. I mean how did they call that a tech foul and not the one against Rondo? I just don't get it.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: April 30, 2009 12:06 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

I'm a Celtics fan and, for the most part, I agree with the other poster.  I don't agree with the clothesline comment, but I do otherwise agree the Bulls really do need to go out there and match the Celtics' physical play.  The other poster didn't suggest they go out and intentionally hurt anyone, he suggested they go out there a give some hard fouls.  Fouling is a part if the game and, in certain situations, a strategy.  Hard fouls serve a purpose just as brushback pitches in baseball do.  It's not about injuring an opposing player, it's about getting in the opposing player's head and making him think twice about being aggressive.  A brushback pitch can get a batter to back off of the plate.  A hard foul can make a player think twice about driving to the hoop and cause him to settle for jump shots.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 30, 2009 11:11 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

The path to the NBA Finals is getting easier by the minute for the Cavs as all of the remaining teams are beating the poop out of each other. Keep up the good work.

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 10:37 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

Does anyone wonder what the fallout would have been had there been a flagrant 1 called?  Would we be saying that the borderline call should have been simply a foul called and allow the players to decide the game rather than the refs?  This is a complaint I've seen quite often on threads and in discussions among fans and commentators. 

The refs in this one have taken a beating from some about THIS call.  I haven't seen anyone address the possible missed call on the foul giving Gordon 3 free throws on a play where he appeared to be out of bounds.  Call it even at worst?

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: April 30, 2009 9:38 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

Looks like Aaron Gray will be seeing his first minutes of the playoffs. Mr. Rondo say hello to Mr. Gray.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: April 30, 2009 9:36 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

IMO it was an obvious flag foul and this is why the NBA game is not as well respected as it once was.  The play is a great example of letting a game get out of control.  I have heard plenty of Boston fans say "stop crying", and I agree.  On the other hand, I believe the should go head hunting in game 6, with the distinct possibilty of hurting a Boston star, say Rondo, Pierce or Allen.  Actually, put one of these guys out of commision for the season..(they would only be goiing after the ball), and crying.

Since: Mar 20, 2009
Posted on: April 30, 2009 9:31 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

Ken, I hope your comment is tongue in cheek.  This isn't the NHL where you send a goon after the other team. (or the Bad Boy Pistons of seasons past).  I'm so sick of this retaliation mentality that you see in sports, even baseball with the retaliation beanings.  To me retaliation has no place in sports.  Rise above.

Why not just go out and beat the snot out of the Celtics on the court.  This game is an elimination game for the Bulls and there is no time for them to be thinking about anything other than winning the game.

The best revenge will be taking games 6 and 7 and eliminating the Celtics from the playoffs.


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