The Celtics were forced to go without Rajon Rondo in Tuesday night's Game 2 against the Hawks, and they still came away with an 87-80 victory to even the series at 1-1.
At this point, they are just thankful that Rondo got just a one-game suspension for bumping referee Marc Davis in the last minute of Sunday night's series-opening loss and that he'll be back for Game 3 Friday. The Celts' guard was angry that Brandon Bass had been called for a foul while fighting for a loose ball on the floor.
"Obviously, I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc," Rondo said. "I deserved the first tech, and as I was walking I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn't intentionally chest-bump him, but that's what it appears to be."
That's what the NBA ruled, giving Rondo an automatic one-game suspension for the contact. The Celts were happy the league didn't think the hit warranted more and that it didn't take into account the fact Rondo has a history (he was suspended two games for throwing a ball at a referee in February).
Said Keyon Dooling, "When I talked to 'Do, I said, 'Well, it could go one of two ways. They can penalize you for this action, or they can hold some of your prior actions against you.'
"And I tip my hat to (commissioner) David Stern. They came down on what actually happened and not what happened in the past."
Coach Doc Rivers was accepting of the penalty, knowing it was bound to shake out this way.
"Yeah, I mean, it is what it is," he said. "If you make contact, they're probably going to suspend you. You know, obviously having one (game) means they thought about zero, as well -- or two; you can go either way. But it's over now and we just move on."
Rivers wasn't sure whether the suspension would be longer.
"I didn't know," he said. "I wasn't going to sit there, honestly, and worry about it. It's out of my hands. Those are the things ... I'd rather watch a movie."
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