The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 and just might have lost their floor leader for Game 2.
Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks built a big lead early, then held on for an 83-74 victory over the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs Sunday night.
This game however, will be remembered for what happened in the final minute, not the Hawks’ dismantling of a good Celtics team.
While complaining about a call, Boston star Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping an official and faces a possible suspension when the teams meet on Tuesday, May 1 in Atlanta.
“He’s our young leader. He’s very professional, he’s learned from countless situations he’s been in.” Kevin Garnett said. “He’s progressed as a young man and young leader. There are a lot of personalities around here. We don’t follow just because Doc [Rivers] says follow. We follow Rondo for a reason. Doc’s system is predicated on hard work and playing hard. Obviously, we want certain personnel in positions, but the team is built so it runs continually like a wheel.”
Rondo, who had 20 points and 11 assists, admitted that the bump looked bad. He was angry because Brandon Bass had been whistled for a foul as he battled Josh Smith for a loose ball and yelled at referee Marc Davis.
“Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech,” Rondo, who was tossed with 41 seconds left and the Celtics down by four, said. “As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot.”
While Rondo may have a case, as a professional and a floor general, you have to be able to control your temper. Especially in the playoffs.
Check out Rondo’s bump below.