BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo said he simply told referee Rodney Mott a joke when he bumped into him during Saturday night’s game against the Hawks.
“I know Rodney, and that particular time on that play I actually went up to him and I made a joke,” said Rondo, who was suspended by the NBA for Boston’s 102-96 win over the Knicks on Monday night. “He laughed. In the midst of it I guess I touched him. I did touch him, and the league, I guess, reviewed it. The media blew it up on SportsCenter or whatever, and I served a one-game suspension.”
Rondo was whistled for an offensive foul in the third quarter of Saturday night’s win over the Atlanta Hawks after running into forward Josh Smith while driving to the basket. Disagreeing with the call, he went up to Mott and bumped him, telling his “joke” in the process.
“I thought Josh flopped,” Rondo said. “I told Rodney (look at Smith’s) body size and what he weighs and look at me. There’s no way I could have made him go into the stands off of contact. He laughed, threw the ball in, and we got back on defense.”
Rondo also said cooperated with the league about his actions when they investigated on Monday, and is not sure why he was cited for being uncooperative. He joked he didn’t use any “bad words” during their talk, but his reputation may be getting the best of him now.
“I’m not on trial or anything, it’s just how it is when you’re dealing with the league when you get in a little bit of trouble,” he said. “I’m a repeat offender. I don’t know if I have two or three strikes, but it is what it is.”
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Monday was Rondo’s fourth suspension in the last year, and the point guard admitted he may have to “adapt” his behavior with the league officials keeping a closer eye on his actions.
“I may have to, but I’ll adapt. I’ll learn the game,” said Rondo. “But I’m an emotional player in that aspect. I think at that time I had a triple-double, we were up 10. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t go over and yell at Rodney. I think he even said that in his statement. But the league put the hammer down and made a decision.”