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."

Isaiah Thomas' recent shooting woes mirror those of Celtics

Isaiah Thomas' recent shooting woes mirror those of Celtics

BOSTON – As Isaiah Thomas walked off the TD Garden floor Monday night in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the All-Star guard’s franchise streak of 43 games with 20 or more points scored was about to end.
 
Credit the Hawks, whose defense made life miserable for Thomas most of the game, limiting him to 4-for-21 shooting (19 percent) which stands as the worst shooting night for Thomas as Celtic when he has taken at least 10 shots from the field.
 
Thomas chalks up his struggles Monday as just one of those bad nights that comes from time to time in an 82-game season, but it’s part of what has been a stretch of inefficient shooting games for him.
 
And it’s not a coincidence that the Celtics (38-22) have lost three of their past four at the same time Thomas finds himself in one of his worst four-game stretches for shooting the ball this season.
 
In fact, Thomas has shot just 35.4 percent from the field in Boston’s past four games. In that span, he has made less than 45 percent of his shots in each game, which is only the second time this season he has had a four-game stretch like that.
 
And while defenses certainly give him more attention than any other Celtic, he’s still getting to the spots he wants to get to while taking the shots that are best for him.
 
The only difference of late, is that more shots are off the mark than previously.
 
“I missed a lot of shots in the paint. I got where I wanted to,” Thomas said. “That wasn’t just me; that was our team. We missed a lot of shots we normally make.”
 
Which is why there’s no sense of panic or heightened concern on the part of the Celtics heading into their game Wednesday night against the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Boston rookie Jaylen Brown was quick to credit Atlanta for doing a good job defensively against the Celtics.
 
But he too recognized that at times they were their own worst enemy with all of the blown opportunities.
 
“We missed a bunch of easy shots and I think that is just focus,” Brown said. “We’re not going to hit every shot every game, but I do expect us to play a little bit better than what we did and I think we’re more capable of being a bit more locked in. It happens; you just got to forget about it and bounce back Wednesday against Cleveland.”