Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning he was preparing for guard Rajon Rondo being suspended for his role in a skirmish that left three players ejected in his team’s 95-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
“I’m not going to get into what the commissioner is going to do or the league is going to do,” Rivers said in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "Could there be suspensions? Yeah there could be. There were no punches thrown. But the fact that it went into the stands usually means suspensions.”
After Humphries delivered a foul that sent Kevin Garnett crashing hard to the floor backwards, Rondo immediately confronted the Nets’ forward, delivering a two-handed shove. The two then got tangled, with Rondo the aggressor, and spilled into the stands beneath the basket in front of the Celtics' bench as players and coaches from both teams rushed onto the court with security and team personnel trying to defuse the situation.
Rivers said he thought Humphries was at fault initially for the hard foul on Garnett, but faulted Rondo for taking it “to the next level.”
Rondo, of course, has a history of losing his cool on the court. He was suspended one game for bumping an official during last year's playoffs and got a two-game ban for throwing a ball at an official during the regular season before that.
“I want him to keep better at it,” said Rivers on Rondo letting his emotions get the best of him. “He’s grown each year. When this happens, this is an emotional act. This is an emotional game. You want to be on the edge but you don’t want to take it over the edge. And he’s done that a couple times. All we can do is keep working with him.”
Rivers said he hasn’t talked to Rondo yet about the incident but plans to Thursday.
“I told him I’d talk to him today,” Rivers said. “I’ve been around long enough to know everyone’s still emotional, including the coach (after it happens). After watching it, we’ll talk to him today.”
What will the Celtics do if Rondo gets suspended?
“We’ve got to figure that out,” Rivers said. “We haven’t met as a staff yet, but we have three guards that we can play at that position. (Leandro Barbosa) can play there, Jason Terry can play there, that’s probably the least of my choices because it takes so much away from his offense when he does that.
“Courtney Lee is another guy. And I thought over the last 4 or 5 games, he didn't make shots, but Courtney Lee played with an amazing amount of spirit last night, I thought he really stood out of the film, his effort. And we need guys to join him.”
For more from Rivers on the radio, hop HERE.