BOSTON -- Set to return to action on Wednesday night, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo again downplayed the bump that led to his one-game suspension earlier this week and couldn't resist a little playful needling of the league when informed of a similar-length ban for Carmelo Anthony's postgame antics on Monday night.
"Oh man, I get suspended for a phone hang-up and people just get away with anything in this league," said Rondo, alluding to the league's noting his suspension was for bumping a game official and failure to cooperate with a league investigation.
A reporter then noted that Anthony earned a similar one-game ban for confronting Kevin Garnett outside the Celtics' bus in New York.
"Oh my goodness, so that’s the same thing, huh?" quipped Rondo.
Rondo was suspended for Monday's game, but could be seen standing near Anthony in a video of the postgame incident around the Celtics' bus. A jovial Rondo again kept it light with reporters.
"I’m in the video. What do I have on?" asked Rondo. "You can tell it’s me? Yeah, I had the hood on, didn’t I?"
Rondo scoffed when asked if he felt the situation might have turned physical between Anthony and Garnett if others didn't intercede.
"Uncomfortable? I’m a nice guy. I was pretty comfortable. I didn’t want anything to happen to the big fella. I had my teammate's back," said Rondo. "Nobody was looking for a fight or anything. We just tried to break it up and I wanted to be there for my teammate. Just because I got suspended doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. Why can’t I be a peacemaker?"
Right before Rondo addressed reporters, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he's no fan of suspensions, but admitted the league had to do something with Anthony.
"I don’t believe guys should ever be suspended," said Rivers. "[Teams] get in trouble for sitting players, then we suspend players -- it’s the same thing. If you're a fan, you’re not happy with that."
Asked about a different penalty, Rivers said: "That’s called money. It’s a tough one. Obviously, you gotta take action and you gotta do things. But this suspension stuff, I’ve never liked. It’s just the way I think. I think: Let them play and take money away from them. But you have to do something [with Anthony]; obviously, you don’t want that type of situation."
Rondo, who has endured four suspensions in the past 12 months, couldn't help but take his coach's side.
"I agree with Doc. Fans come to see the players, their favorite players," said Rondo. "I happen to be some fans’ favorite players -- a couple. The fans still love me. They don’t really judge me as much as the media does. It’s part of the job. It’s part of the role."