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."

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

According to multiple reports, Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract with the Clippers, making him a free agent. 

Griffin is considered one of the top free agents in a class that will also include Utah’s Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have been reported as possible suitors for both players. 

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, the 28-year-old Griffin is a five-time All-Star, though injuries have limited him over the last three seasons. 

Over 61 games, the 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Between numerous injuries and a suspension for hitting a member of the Clippers’ equipment staff, Griffin was limited to just 31 games in the 2015-16 season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski said recently that Boston’s reception for Clippers teammate Paul Pierce made a very strong impression on Griffin. Though there might not necessarily be a connection between the two, Griffin said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that Boston is on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities. 

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

Tatum's sick final workout seals the deal for Celtics

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum was excited about working out for the Boston Celtics. 

But he knew that, health-wise, he wouldn’t be at his best. 

TATUM SPEAKS

 
He could have easily pulled out like others had, or just told the Celts in advance so they could take it into account when they were deciding on who to take with the No. 3 pick. 
 
Instead, he kept it to himself until after his workout, focused on doing what the best in the NBA do on a nightly basis -- finding a way to play their best when at their worst physically. 
 
“I wasn’t feeling well, but you can’t make excuses,” Tatum said during an interview with CSN’s Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “There can be times in the future where there’s a game or playoff game where you’re not feeling well. Nobody is going to care. You have to produce.”
 
Did. He. Ever. 
 
The workout didn’t just go well.  It ranked among the best Danny Ainge had seen, which made the decision for Boston to select the 6-foot-9 forward from Duke with the No. 3 pick an easy call. 
 
Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, had an eye on Tatum all season and acknowledged he had high expectations for him to perform at during his workout in Boston. 
 
“He was better than I actually thought,” Ainge said during the CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “Which was hard to do, because we thought highly of him before.”
 
During the workout, Ainge saw a young man who had worked on improving his perimeter shooting to the point where it was actually one of his stronger qualities. 
 
 “As I watched him play earlier in his life  . . . what he lacked was his range shooting,” Ainge said. “He was a very good mid-range player and good passer off the dribble. But the range shooting, what he showed us in the workout here was very impressive. We had two workouts with him. And in both of them, he was one of the best shooters in this whole draft at any position, and one of the best shooters we’ve had in here for any draft.”
 
Making Tatum’s workout all that more impressive was it came with him far from at his best health-wise, something the Celtics didn’t learn of until afterwards. 
 
“He wanted to be here from the very beginning, even before we got the number one pick,” Ainge said. “He wanted to be here. He came in here and showed it. He came on his workout and was sick. He was on antibiotics, nose was dripping and he didn’t complain. And he still played and played well. That was impressive, how much he showed, how much he wanted to be here.”
 
Tatum said his mindset coming into his workout was simple.
 
“I knew the draft pick was on the line,” Tatum said. “I had to really perform and I think I did really well.”