By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON There's no such thing as a good time to get tossed from a game.
But Boston's Delonte West could not have picked a worse time than the first quarter of Boston's 104-88 win over Washington.
It was the second game of a set of back-to-backs, the kind of game where any team - but especially one with as many injuries and as many veterans as Boston - is looking for as much depth as possible.
The incident occurred with 8:54 to play in the second quarter.
West was whistled for a foul, and voiced his objection to official Josh Tiven.
It is unclear exactly what West said to Tiven, but whatever it was, it was just the right words to get the 6-foot-3 guard a pair of technicals which is an automatic ejection.
After the game, head coach Doc Rivers said West apologized to his teammates for getting himself ejected.
"I got the feeling he said the right stuff," Rivers said. "Because it wasn't a lot of words so it had to be the right words."
His absence put Rivers in a tight spot in terms of his rotation.
Rivers likes to have West fill in for Rondo at the point guard position.
But after he got tossed, Rivers elected to simply extend Rondo's minutes and throw in Carlos Arroyo for an early fourth quarter stint.
Although Rondo started the fourth, Rivers took him out with 9:39 to play and the Celtics ahead by six points.
Three minutes later, the C's lead was down to four points after a Jordan Crawford lay-up.
Back came Rondo, who had six points, three assists and three steals in the fourth to help propel the Celtics to a victory that keeps them tied with the Miami Heat for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Rondo wound up playing 40-plus minutes, in part because he was playing so well but also because the Celtics didn't have West.
"He apologized to the team, but, still, we needed the bodies tonight on a back-to-back," Rivers said. "And that's - that's what I told him. I mean, get thrown out yesterday (at Chicago). Today, we needed you. We needed the body."