BOSTON (CBS) – After a stellar night on the court, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo didn’t do much to put out the flames that ignited on the team’s recent road trip.
The Celtics’ captain was his normal fiery self Wednesday night when asked about his decision to skip the team’s strip to Sacramento last weekend and celebrate his birthday in Los Angeles.
“I haven’t really read much about it,” Rondo said following Boston’s 115-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. “I heard a lot of comments. Nobody knows the story, so [the media] can keep making up every story you guys possibly can.”
The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Rondo did not travel with the team for Saturday night’s game in Sacramento, a scheduled night off for the point guard, and instead remained in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday with family.
When asked what the story is, Rondo was quick to point out that it’s nobodies business but his own.
“It’s my business,” he said. “Not yours.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he spoke to Rondo before and after the trip to Sacramento, and that any issue will be handled in-house.
“All of that, we’re handling internally,” Stevens said prior to the win. “We’ve sat down and talked, and we did that Monday. In my mind I’m moving forward. When Danny (Ainge) gets back in town they can meet and we’ll go from there.”
Stevens would not say if he felt his point guard made the right decision.
“The biggest thing right now is for me and us to move forward,” said Stevens. “Obviously it’s something that is a great question to ask, and something I’ve certainly spent a lot of time thinking about. But at the end of the day, I’ve passed that point.”
The ordeal overshadowed another night in which Rondo looked as though he was back to his old self. He scored 22 points — the first time he’s gone over 20 points in over a year — attacking the rim with confidence and explosiveness that the Hawks could not contain. He took a team-high six free throws, hitting five of them to bring his free thrown percentage to a career-high 76 percent.
“I was able to attack and get some calls and got to the free throw line. I just took what the defense gave me,” said Rondo, who shot 8-for-14 from the floor in the win. “We got some stops and put a few together consecutively and came back in the first quarter. We got into a rhythm as a team and we fought back pretty hard.”
Rondo dished out 11 assists in the win for his second straight double-double and fifth overall since returning from an ACL injury that ended his 2013-14 season last January.
While he wasn’t very pleased to talk about the birthday controversy, Rondo later joked that he is happy to be getting calls on the floor now.
“I think I’ve been pretty good. I haven’t gotten a technical all year,” he joked. “(I’m) trying to fix my reputation with the refs.”
The birthday ordeal isn’t over just yet, with Rondo and Celtics president Danny Ainge expected to sit down at some point and bring this to an end behind closed doors within the coming week. But Rondo and the team is ready to move on, and hoping the media does the same.
If Rondo continues to put up the numbers he did against the Hawks, that should happen sooner rather than later.
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