Rivers on Rondo suspension: Reputation had to do with it

Rivers on Rondo suspension: Reputation had to do with it
January 8, 2013, 12:33 am
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NEW YORK Doc Rivers saw the bumping incident in Atlanta on Saturday involving Rajon Rondo and official Rodney Mott when it happened.

The incident occurred with 3:19 to play in the third quarter of the Cs 89-81 win at Atlanta on Saturday.

At the time, Mott didn't make a call regarding the incident and with that, Rivers thought it was a non-issue.

That is, until the league announced hours before Monday's tip-off that Rondo was suspended for bumping the official and according to the league's statement on the incident, "failure to cooperate with a league investigation."

Making intentional contact with an official is a one-game suspension. But what was somewhat unclear in Rondo's latest suspension - it is his third since April of last year - is the part about him failing to cooperate with the investigation.

Rivers would not elaborate on what that meant other than to say that Rondo did have a "brief" conversation with the league officials regarding the incident.

With Rondo's rash of suspension within the last year, there's little doubt he is on the league's radar screen when it comes to this kind of stuff.

"You know the old saying, you're not given that reputation, you earn one," Rivers said. "And I'm sure that had a lot to do with it as well."

While Rivers is quick to shift his focus on tonight's opponent and the opportunity that beating a talented New York Knicks team presents, discarding Rondo's latest incident won't be as easy.

The Celtics are playing some of their best basketball of the season, looking very much like the team that Danny Ainge and Rivers and the Celtics ownership envisioned when it was assembled in the offseason.

But when a player of Rondo's stature and importance continues to make the kind of ill-fated mistakes that not only hurt himself but also his team, it gives the C's reason to pause in their efforts in establishing him as their leader of the future.

Of course Boston will try to downplay the big picture dynamic in this latest Rondo suspension.

But it can't be ignored; not with it happening over and over again.

"We just work on it, everyday," Rivers said. "He's going to play a long time and he has a long time, a lot of time to change it."