Rondo suspended for one game

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Rondo suspended for one game

ATLANTA The Boston Celtics are in the midst of preparing for their Game 2 matchup against Atlanta on Tuesday, a game they will have to play without Rajon Rondo.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com Monday evening that the 6-foot-2 point guard was going to be suspended by the NBA for Tuesday's Game 2 matchup after making contact with a game official in Boston's 83-74 Game 1 loss on Sunday.

The suspension, Rondo's second this season (he was suspended two games in February for throwing a basketball at an official), will be without pay and only for the one game.

"Obviously, from a competitive stand point we are disappointed with the league's decision to suspend Rondo. He plays a valuable part in our team's success," coach Doc Rivers said in a statement released by the team. "We accept the punishment and will use it as a learning tool for our players."

The incident occurred late in the game after Atlanta's Joe Johnson lost control of the ball and a scramble ensued that ultimately led to official Marc Davis calling a foul on Brandon Bass.

Rondo screamed at Davis in what he clearly thought was a bad call, which got him one technical foul. Davis turned his back and Rondo moved towards Davis, stumbled and then chest-bumped the back of Davis which drew a second technical foul and with it, an automatic ejection.

"The league is going to do what they have to do," Rivers said before the verdict. "I still don't think it was ever intentional."

Regardless, the Celtics have to go into what should be an intense Game 2 matchup without Rondo, the NBA's assists leader this season with 11.7 per game.

"Rondo has been our best player and it obviously hurts us," Ainge told CSNNE.com. "Someone else is going to have to step up and make it not as painful without Rondo out there."

Look for the Celtics to go with Keyon Dooling or Sasha Pavlovic to start in Rondo's place.

Based on comments by Rivers and several Celtics, the team had already been preparing as though it would not have Rondo for Tuesday night's game.

Prior to the league's decision, Rivers thought Rondo's outburst had more to do with a blown call moments earlier by the officials when the replays showed a loose ball went off of Josh Smith. Instead, the officials ruled that the ball went off of Rondo.

While the Celtics have shown time and time again the ability to make up for - and at times, thrive - a key player being out, not having Rondo available is a huge blow that the Celtics know will be difficult to overcome.

"The playoffs are a little different," Ainge said. "You never want your best player, not playing. But it happens. We have to make the most of it, and guys will have to step up. It's that simple."

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.