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BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspened one game by the NBA for bumping into referee Marc Davis during the C’s Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night, the NBA announced on Monday.
This means the Celtics will be without their All Pro point guard for Tuesday night’s Game 2 as they try to pull even with the Hawks in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
“Obviously, from a competitive standpoint we are disappointed with the league’s decision to suspend Rondo,” coach Doc Rivers said in a statement. “He plays a valuable part in our team’s success. We accept the punishment and will use it as a learning tool for our players.”
The incident occurred in the final minute of Boston’s 83-74 Game 1 loss when Davis whistled Celtics forward Brandon Bass for a foul on Atlanta’s Josh Smith while the two were going for a loose ball. Rondo, still fuming from an out of bounds call from a few plays earlier, thought it should have been a jump ball and let Davis know about it.
After being whistled for a technical — which he said he deserved — Rondo made contact with Davis, bumping into the official’s back with his chest. After the game, Rondo said he tripped over the Davis’ foot, which caused the contact.
NBA rules state that “any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game.”
Earlier in the afternoon, NBA Commissioner David Stern addressed Rondo’s action before a decision on the suspension had been made.
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“I don’t want to pre-judge on what the recommendation is going to be, but as a fan, he obviously bumped him. And you know what happens with respect to that,” Stern told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd.
“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.”
Rondo’s head coach did not think the bump was intentional after the game, and felt the same way prior to Monday’s practice in Atlanta.
“I thought it was a bump and the league’s going to do what they have to do. I still don’t think it was ever intentional,” said C’s head coach Doc Rivers. “I just think you get heated and I think he was more upset from the missed call the play before — the out of bounds play. I thought that started it.”
With Rondo out for Tuesday night’s Game 2, look for Paul Pierce to handle the ball-handling duties as a point-forward, with Avery Bradley and Mickael Peitrus joining him in the back court.