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: Jan 30, 2009
Posted on: April 30, 2009 8:25 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

so what the league is saying is that if a player strikes another player in the face with no wind up or follow through, its a foul.

should be a lot of fouls tonight.

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: April 30, 2009 8:08 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

   Hey genius you did not READ the post. Bucfan was referring to the Orlando Magic game. Geezus you Celtic fans are unreal,your so quick to argue about  Rajon Rondo's riight to be a dirty player that you can't even READ a post 1 sentence long. The worst part about Boston's  need to win by cheap shotting the Bulls is now when they try to even the score the refs are going to hammer them. Typical Boston crap. I hope the Bulls put Aaron Grey in just to open hand slap the stupid snot out of Rondo his 1st couple of trips down the lane or stick a foot out on a breakaway and see how much we listen to you cry about it. What was a good series turned crappy because Boston has to win at any cost and is protected by the refs,NBA.

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 6:10 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

Retaliate, no. I like the Bulls and the Celtics, but the NBA blew this call. Intent or not, you hit a guy in the face and draw blood that requires stitches and it should have been a flagrant one and the ball. The refs and the NBA blew it and are basing their decision on the fact that if they upgrade the call, the Bulls can upgrade the game decision (which they shold be allowed to).
If you want to argue "intent"...when Coach says in the press conference he made a good foul, because the team doesn't give up layups, especially in that type of game situation, the "intent" is a given. Good play by Rondo to not give up the layup after they got beat on the play, but BAD result by getting Miller in the face.
The refs and the NBA, by trying to make calls fairly, are the direct cause of these types of situations being escalated to the point of setting an air of tension and causing fans and players to think about retaliation.
As Barkley voiced, if this had been a Bulls player making that same play against the Celtics, the bench would have been all over this incident.
AS related to the Howard incident, Stern is making statements about how the league is controlling this kind of play and players. Statements such as: 

"The Dwight Howard suspension tells you the players are capable of hurting each other," Stern said. "We're there to protect the players. If you throw a punch, you're gone. If you throw an elbow above the shoulder, you're gone. If you come off the bench, you're gone.

So if you hit a guy in the face, drawing blood with or without the "intent" which has already been admitted by the's okay, because it is the beloved Boston Celtics and this would allow the other team to appeal the game??? We're there to protect the players, unless it is Miller?  

The NBA has been doing better to protect the players, but in this case protected itself and just simply blew the whole situation, IMO.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: April 30, 2009 4:20 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

The NBA probably did get it right, but Chicago now HAS to retaliate.  Of course YOU would like the Bulls to retaliate. You honestly think it's sportsmanlike to intentionally seek to hurt someone in a basketball game? No one can prove Rondo intentionally meant to hurt Miller. Rondo was late to react, simply put, he got burnt. It was a good in-bounds play and the Celtics got burnt. As fascinating as it may seem, the Celtics are playing for their play-off lives. You have to foul in that situation or it would have been an easy bucket. Celtics couldn't afford another overtime especially w/o Ray Allen. They did what they had to like it or not. Stop treating it like it was a vicious act. Some of you are taking your anti-Celtic rhetoric too far.

Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: April 30, 2009 1:51 am

No roundhouse from Rondo

I have seen this quote 3 times now, and it gets more perplexing every time

"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."

So, in order to upgrade from a regular foul to flagrant, Rondo would have had to pull his hand all the way back, slap Miller in the face, and hold his hand on Miller's face while pulling Miller all the way to the ground. I am pretty sure Trevor Ariza received a flagrant earlier in the year where there was no windup or follow through, and he actually touched the ball on the play.

As for malicious intent, perhaps I am the only one who watched the game who didn't have an inside glance into Rajon Rondo's mind. The logical minded person that watched the play would state, as Berger did above, "Rondo realized he had no play on the ball and simply hit whatever he could -- that being Miller's face." Now that says to me that Rondo had no intent whatsoever on making a "basketball play," but intended instead to slap Miller in the face. If that is a "basketball play," then the rest of the playoffs might get interesting.

Pretty much the only conclusion I agree with is that the NBA stating that a flagrant should have been called would have opened the door for a Bulls protest, and rightfully so. The NBA backs its refs no matter what, even if they are blatantly incorrect and their utter ineptitude directly results in one team being screwed out of an opportunity to tie or win a game.

Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 12:34 am

what a joke

Rondo made a play on the ball, huh?  a basketball play?  That's called a bitch slap where I'm from and it's apparently a minor offense in the NBA.  Rondo struck Miller a good 3 feet, minimum, away from where the ball was.  Does proximity matter at all in calling it a basketball play?  If that logic were to carry over to baseball, any pitcher who comes within 3 feet of the strike zone, even though the ball is up in the batters grill, is just making a "baseball play" with no malicious intent. 

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2009 11:56 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

There was no way rondo could follow through he was flying in a direction that wouldn't of made a follow through physically possible.  This is such a cop out from stu.  It was an obvious foul.  Don't you at least have to make an attempt at the ball?  How do you explain him missing the ball by 2 feet.  He knew he couldn't block it and hit him in the face instead.  Thats flagrant.  He even said himself he was trying to foul him.  Complet joke for you to back the nba on this berger.  Suck up much?

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2009 11:40 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

maybe the bulls start aaron gray and send him after somebody?

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2009 11:06 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

Rand that's why you're a Lakers fan.  Spot on... only people like you wish harm on another player.

Rondo may have fouled him hard, but there was 0 intention of hurting him, it was intent to foul.  I hate people who clamor for "clothesline's", one out of every two times that ends a career.

Since: Apr 25, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2009 10:56 pm

No roundhouse from Rondo

I have to disagree with this one.  I think if you change some of the circumstances then the call would change.  Say instead of Rondo on Miller it was a Bulls player on Paul Pierce.  A Bull has no play on the ball and therefore hits Pierce in the face? I could care less if there's a "follow through", kind of hard to get a follow through when watching the play.  If you don't have a play on the ball and you instead go after the player I don't see how it isn't flagrant foul.  One problem I've always had with the NBA is there are several different approaches for teams and players from the officials.  If this was the '90s and Michael Jordan going in for a layup there would've been a different call.  Now if I was a Celtics fan maybe I'd be singing a different tune (I really have no problem with the Celtics, I was happy they won last year, they're a first class team), but without a play on the ball and then taking out the player, drawing blood, I can't see it not being a flagrant foul.

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