Hoping for leniency? It sure doesn't sound like it's coming.
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo made contact with NBA official Marc Davis while being assessed a technical foul for angrily disputing a foul call during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
Any intentional contact with an NBA official during a game is subject to a 1-game suspension according to league rules and a debate quickly erupted as to whether Rondo's contact was intentional. If the NBA league office deems the contact intentional, Rondo would be subject to a suspension for Tuesday night's Game 2.
Following Game 1, Rondo said that he didn't mean to contact Davis and that he tripped while arguing the call, leading to his chest bump of Davis in the back.
"I didn't intentionally chest bump him," Rondo said. "I know the rules."
On Monday, NBA commissioner David Stern made it sound like he wasn't buying that interpretation of the events. Stern told ESPN Radio that he thought the contact was clear and that the league's rule is pretty plain, according to ESPNBoston.com.
“I don't want to pre-judge on what the recommendation is going to be,” Stern said. “But as a fan, he obviously bumped him. And you know what happens with respect to that.”As noted on Sunday night, a 1-game suspension is expected. The league will likely note that the bump came as a result of Rondo moving towards Davis and that it came after an extended series of aggressive actions and words. Contact occurred because of Rondo's movement, not Davis', and he certainly was intending to forcefully and directly dispute the call. No other third parties intervened.
“We have a hard and fast rule,” Stern said. “Unless somebody trips you and sends you into him, nobody touches a referee. That's the proposition.”
The Hawks hold a 1-0 series lead over the Celtics after winning Game 1.
Rondo, 26, averaged 11.9 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 36.9 minutes per game for the Celtics this season. He tallied 20 points, 11 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 43 minutes before being ejected from Game 1.