Rondo hit with two-game suspension

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Rondo hit with two-game suspension

DALLAS The bad news just keeps pouring on to the Boston Celtics.

Point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for two games by the NBA for throwing a ball at an official and striking him in the chest.

The incident occurred in the third quarter of Boston's 96-81 loss at Detroit on Sunday.

Prior to the incident, Rondo drove into the lane and missed a shot. After the release, Pistons center Greg Monroe landed on Rondo.

The play eventually ended with a 24-second call on Boston, one of their season-high 24 turnovers.

After the play, Rondo had words for official Sean Wright.

With the ball in his hands, Rondo threw it forcefully towards Wright's midsection.

That is when Wright whistled Rondo for two technical fouls, which is an automatic ejection.

Rondo, who had never been ejected prior to Sunday night, will serve his two-game suspension - without pay - tonight against Dallas and on Wednesday at Oklahoma City.

Although the league did not make the announcement until Monday afternoon, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the team was informed earlier in the day to plan on not having Rondo play tonight.

At that point, Rivers accurately assumed they were deliberating over how many games to suspend him.

"You're always disappointed when this happens," Rivers said. "You should never put yourself in front of the team. But the game is an emotional game."

As far as the play that set Rondo off, Rivers said, "we can all agree that it was a foul, a bad foul that wasn't called."

And with the C's getting beaten soundly at the time, Rondo's emotions clearly got the best of him.

"I can guarantee you, 30 seconds, 5 seconds after it happened, Rondo wishes he could take it back. That happens."

It serves as yet another reminder that despite the strides Rondo has made, he still has room - lots of room - to grow.

"We all do messed up things in our lives," Rivers said. "Unfortunately for Rondo, he does it in front of a lot of people ... and we don't."

While there's never a good time to be without your top assists man, losing Rondo now could not have come at a worst point in the schedule.

If you had to single out the toughest back-to-back matchups for the Celtics this season, these next two games would be it.

With Dallas, you have the reigning NBA champions. And with the Thunder, you have the best team, record-wise, in the Western Conference this season.

Making matters worse, Brandon Bass (left knee) is not with the team and isn't expected back until after the all-star break. And Kevin Garnett is questionable for tonight's game after missing the Detroit loss on Sunday, to attend to a personal matter.

Without Rondo, the Celtics gave Avery Bradley his ninth start of the season. The Celtics came in with a 6-2 record with Bradley starting.

Bradley, who grew up in nearby Arlington, Texas, had eight points in the first half.

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
 
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
 
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
 
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
 
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
 
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
 
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
 
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
  
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
 
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.