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Reviewing Rondo


The best thing about those three overtimes and the fact that this series has already earned “Best Ever First Round Series” status is that the league is (almost certainly) not going to suspend Rajon Rondo for his flagrant foul on Kirk Hinrich. (Best video available here).

Because if I’m reading the rule correctly, the league has the right to review any flagrant foul for a possible fine and suspension. Here’s the relevant section:

If a player is ejected on (1) the first technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, (2) a punching foul, (3) a fighting foul, (4) an elbow foul, or (5) a flagrant foul, he shall be fined a minimum of $1,000. 

b. Whether or not said player(s) is ejected, a fine not exceeding $35,000 and/or suspension may be imposed upon such player(s) by the Commissioner at his sole discretion

That’s pretty clear cut to me. And, frankly, you could make the argument that Rondo’s foul is worthy of a suspension. I am not advocating that, and I would never do so. It would be a shame to end a series like this with the guy who has been the best player overall sitting next to an insane seven-footer in street clothes. And it’s not going to happen anyway. Nobody got hurt, no brawl ensued, nobody left the bench, so let’s all forget about it and move on.

The easy comparison to make is with the Robert Horry foul on Steve Nash in 2007, since both fouls ended with players flying into the scorer’s table. Here’s the Horry foul. The league suspended Horry two games for this:


In any case, Doug Collins was right: Rondo has to be smarter than that. I understand he and Hinrich got tangled up, which happens in NBA games all the time, but you cannot swing somebody so hard that they go flying out of bounds. Not in a playoff series, and not after you punched Brad Miller in the face–by accident, sort of–just 48 hours ago. It was a silly, impulsive reaction, and Rondo has to have more restraint that that. 

I know that I’ll never understand how it feels to have your adrenaline rushing during an NBA playoff game. But still. You can’t do that.

I hope that Rondo’s play has been spectacular enough that it will be the first thing fans think of when they think of Rajon Rondo’s 2009 playoff performance. But for a certain segment of fans, that may not be the case anymore.

  • http://tumsrums.wordpress.com Tom

    Rondo looked rattled tonight. I dunno if he felt that the Bulls were going to come after him but he really looked his age throughout most of the game. Still though, what can you expect? He is young, he will learn.

  • WindyCityEx-Pat

    You never want the best player in a series (19 assists, 0 turnovers in Game 6 — wow) to also be its villain. But Rondo's three Laimbeerian plays (yes, three — his slimy, calculated trip of Hinrich in Game 5 led to stitches) have secured that. This punk — for all his talent — is out of control. The league of course won't suspend this rising star from a Game 7. Pretty gross.

  • http://celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Ex-pat, your use of "punk" is risking a ban from CelticsHub.

    If only Rondo would have had a baby hook to go on that attempt over Rose in the lane.

  • WindyCityEx-Pat

    It doesn't sound like you're disagreeing with me, Zach.

    Fun debate for after this series: which player would you rather have for the next decade: Rondo or Rose? I concede that Rondo is the better player right now (if only because of the enormous disparity in turnovers seen in this series). But his increasingly apparent embrace of the thug's life on the court can't help his case.

  • EMF

    windy…i don't think the trip of hinrich was "calculated" and i wouldn't consider rondo a dirty player yet. The first foul was hard and should have been called an intentional but that doesn't mean it wasn't a smart basketball play, the second foul against hinrich wouldn't have been bad at all if it would have happened in the middle of the court because hinrich hit the scores table makes it seem worse than it really was.

    dirty players make a career out of it. Give it some time to see if the trend continues before you start calling people punks and "thugs"

    as for rondo or rose…you still take rose he is a better althete, a better playmaker, and his D will get better in the future. Rondo is close to his peak and still can't make a jumper and still disapears for stretches of the game

  • EMF

    oh there is no way rondo will get suspened either.

    A) this foul wasn't as bad as the miller one

    B) this series has been too epic to let one of the best players sit the league would never give up the ratings (rondo would have to actually pull a knife and shank someone to be suspended)

  • crizzow

    As a Bulls fan I don't even want to see Rondo get suspended, this series has been absolutely exhausting to watch, and I for one want to see both teams at full strength (minus KG and Deng of course, and I'm not saying that is an even trade off). Win or lose, a few things I have learned… 1) this series is going to be great for the development on all of the young players in this series on both teams 2) the Bulls are a tough, scrappy team that never gives up 3) this is the most competetive series I've ever seen. 4) I absolutely FEAR Ray Allen, the guy is simply incredible 5) Rondo's a punk but the boy can ball 6) Noah is the reason I love sports, he may be a bit of a punk too but he plays with so much passion and love for the game it's great to see 7) Big Baby is ten times the player I ever thought he would be, gotta give him credit for working hard to get to where he's at

  • http://celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Windy–If Rose can progress as a defensive player, and there's no reason he shouldn't, I think (as much as it pains me to do so) that you have to give him a slight edge because of his strength, athleticism and the fact that he's got a better jump shot at this stage. And he's three years younger.

    But it's a toss-up. Rondo's a better defender (by far) and he's already stepped in as something of a vocal quarterback on both ends since KG's injury.

  • WildYams

    As always with the NBA, context is everything when it comes to suspensions. Horry didn't really get suspended for two games for the shot he put on Nash, but more because since the league had to suspend Amare and Diaw for leaving the bench, they had to suspend the guy who initiated the fracas, and had to give him a stiffer punishment.

    Ultimately suspensions are often decided not by the initial action, but by the fallout. Since there won't be any other suspensions (nobody threw a punch and nobody left the bench), Rondo's not gonna get suspended either. But if the situation had escalated, even if Rondo hadn't done anything more than he did, and had actually walked away after being restrained, if one or more of the players from either team had left the bench or thrown punches, then Rondo would be getting suspended, just for initiating what ended up being a big brawl or incident. Like I said, context is everything in these matters.

    But the refs at the game last night reviewed the tape at the time and decided to go with flagrant one, and I guarantee you that's what's gonna stand.

  • da hoopzster

    you all forget Rondo was the starting point guard on a championship team. I would still take Rondo over Rose.

  • Alan

    I think it's a little disingenuous to keep pointing to Rondo's "Zero turnovers!" stat for Game 6 as if it proves that he played an outstanding game. Frankly, every time Rondo takes a jump shot, it ought to be counted as a turnover in the stat book…

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