BOSTON -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended 2 games by the NBA after sparking a brawl between the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets during Wednesday night's game in Boston, Celtics' GM Danny Ainge announced on WEEI. Rondo will be eligible to return from suspension Dec. 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rondo, taking issue with a hard foul delivered to teammate Kevin Garnett, shoved Kris Humphries under the baseline, causing players from both sides to close in. Rondo and Humphries fell back three rows into the stands, where Garnett, Paul Pierce and others attempted to restrain him. When tempers had cooled down, officials reviewed video of the incident and ejected Rondo, Humphries and Gerald Wallace, who was also involved in the altercation.
"Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul," referee James Capers, the crew chief for the game, said Wednesday. "And when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection."
"When Kevin goes to the basket, he is re-routed by Humphries. So we had a personal foul for the re-route. Kevin is trying to continue -- to get a continuation by shooting - and now Humphries hits him. Because the whistle blew, it was a dead-ball situation, and that's a technical foul for contact during a dead ball. ... What proceeds after that is a fight, so he's ejected."
The ejection of Rondo brought his 37-game streak of double-digit assists, which was tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history, to an end. Rondo's short night concluded with six points, three assists and two steals in 18 minutes.
"You don't want get into an altercation where it's going to cost you any games," said Paul Pierce, who tried to stop the fighting. "The best you can do is try to play mediator in there. But you know, when you're in a battle, it's tough sometimes. Elbows are thrown, guys get pushed. Sometimes you just react. It's in a lot of people's nature. You know, if I come and push somebody, the natural reaction is to push you back, the natural reaction is to hit you back. It's tough when you're in the heat of the battle. That's what the game is sometimes."
Rondo has been far and away the Celtics best player this season, averaging double figures in points (12.9) and assists (12.9) while shooting 50.6 percent.
"It's what it is, man," Garnett said about the possibility of losing Rondo. "Obviously, we are [worried], but it is what it is. You have to protect each other, and we consider ourself family around here, and that's just the way it is."