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.