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Rondo Suspended for Escalating "Brawl"

By November 29, 2012

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Rajon Rondo has been suspended two games for his role in the so-called brawl that broke out in the second quarter of last night's game against the Nets.

To recap the whole ridiculously overblown scene:

Kevin Garnett attempted a shot from the baseline and was fouled by Kris Humphries. Garnett did take a shot to the face, but it certainly didn't seem violent enough to send the future hall-of-famer sprawling to the parquet floor.

Rajon Rondo - who I'll admit was much closer to the action than I was - took exception to the foul and went after Humphries, sending the ex-Mr. Kardashian sprawling into the seating area behind the basket. Both teams converged on the melee, which was only a little more violent than the average "rush the mound and then mill about on the infield" baseball fight.

You can watch the whole sordid scene on ESPN.com.

Humphries and Rondo were ejected from the game for fighting. Wallace and Garnett received technicals as well, and as that T was Wallace's second of the game, he was also tossed.

A few observations:

  • I saw the fight as it happened, via the Nets' television broadcast on the YES Network. At the time it seemed a gross overreaction by Rondo. It's possible that Humphries had taken more than one cheap shot at the Celtics before things boiled over - Garnett suggested as much after the game, but he's hardly an impartial observer.
  • Rondo is the player Boston can least afford to lose; Doc Rivers really doesn't have another point guard on the roster. And that's another reason that Rondo has to know better. Hockey teams don't use their first-line center as an enforcer... when they want to take a shot at someone, they send in a third-string winger. If the Celtics really felt it necessary to send Hump a message, Chris Wilcox would have made a lot more sense as the delivery man.
  • The league has made it abundantly clear: throw a punch and you're suspended. Unfortunately, this seems to have given some people the impression that attacking with an open hand of forearm won't generate the same sort of punishment. C'mon guys... no one wants to see grown men having slap fights.

Ironically, this suspension might benefit the Celtics - in a particularly awkward way. The ejection ended Rondo's streak of 37 straight games with 10 or more assists, leaving him in a tie with John Stockton for the second-longest such streak in NBA history. (Magic Johnson owns the record: 46 straight games with double-digit assists.)

Of late, it has certainly looked like Rondo had become a bit obsessed with maintaining that streak, occasionally passing up layups make a pass and get another dime. With the the streak over and Magic's record safe, maybe he'll start making better decisions with the ball.

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