If the Boston Celtics want to tie their first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2, they will have to do it without their floor leader Rajon Rondo after he was suspended for Game 2 due to a chest bump incident with official Marc Davis.
Now you probably heard and saw what Rondo did to deserve the one-game suspension but if you haven’t, check it out.
Yup that’ll do it.
The rule is clear — no player contact with refs and if a player does, automatic suspension. And while some point to the fact he tripped and “ran into” the ref, the video is clear. That was an intentional chest bump from Rondo despite even him saying it was unintentional.
So now Boston is in a pickle. Prior to Rondo’s bump, Boston was rallying and was down just four points. A win was within reach. Dropping Game 1 was not what the Celtics needed. Keep in mind Atlanta is not a good playoff road team and stealing home court advantage was key. Now should Boston go down 0-2, the team’s back will be against the wall, and Boston will have to win both games in Boston once the series shifts to the TD Garden.
Furthermore, the way the Celtics played in Game 1, losing Rondo for Game 2 will only make matters worse. Rondo’s solid performance was lost due to the chest bump incident.
In Game 1, he notched 20 points, and 11 assists in 43 minutes in a game where the Celtics scored 74 points for the game. In other words, Rondo’s performance led to 42 points for Boston in a game where the team only managed to score 74 points. So now where is that going to come from in Game 2?
Obviously, Paul Pierce will have to have a better game this Tuesday. In Game 1, Paul had a forgettable performance finishing with 12 points off 5-for-19 shooting. Avery Bradley will also have to step up his game after finishing with 12 points off 4-12 shooting. But in the end, the entire team will have to step up.
Losing a player like Rondo is going to hurt Boston in Game 2 but when you have players like Kevin Garnett, and Pierce and a coach like Doc Rivers, I wouldn’t count Boston out just yet.