You want to hear what Rondo had to say after putting up a triple-double in yesterday’s 95-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls?
There is nothing between those quote marks because Rondo refused to speak to the media after the game. That is why today’s lead quote in the reconfigured (where’d they get the roundup idea?) Daily Dime on ESPN.com is from Celtics media relations director Jeff Twiss: “Rajon will not be speaking tonight.”
Back in the day, a quote like that would earn a team a $25,000 fine, with a similar fine being assessed to the player for breaking the rules.
NBA players are supposed to be available to the media for 45 minutes before the game (although a majority of them make themselves unavailable by hiding in the players’ lounge) and also after the game.
The public wants to know what they have to say, the reporters are there to convey that message to the public, and the media rules are in place to assure that the NBA is properly publicized.
And when a player such as Rondo decides the rules do not apply to him, there are supposed to be consequences.
But if there are no consequences, players do not comply with the rules. (And the NBA has grown lax in enforcing their media rules). Many players feel their media obligations are a distraction at best, an asspain at worst. And when they are forced to comply, history has shown some will go out of their way to be uncooperative.
So we shall wait and see if the league office does what is right in this instance, or whether they turn a blind eye to Rondo’s disrespectful and unprofessional conduct.
In the meantime, I’ll send my own message to Rondo: “Be a man. Do your job as well off the court as you (usually) do it on the court. Act like a professional. Don’t be a jerk.”
Now let’s have a look at what the scribes had to say about yesterday’s Boston victory, which came with Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton sitting out for the Bulls.
From SheridanHoops.com alumnus Peter May, writing for the Evil Empire: “Rondo was masterful for most of the 40 minutes he was on the floor, helped by the absence of Derrick Rose, who was out with a bad back. Rondo finished with season-highs of 32 points and 15 assists, along with 10 rebounds, in the Celtics’ 95-91 victory. This effort nearly mirrored Rondo’s Christmas Day submission (31 points, 13 assists, 5 steals) except that the Celtics came up a basket short in losing to the New York Knicks in that one. This time, against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics never trailed, building a 14-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, then sweating it out the rest of the way. You might say that Rondo was due. You might even say his coach told him he was due. Rondo did not play well in Toronto on Friday night (he had plenty of company in that respect) and he had been only so-so against the Los Angeles Lakers the night before, which coincided with the news that he would not be an All-Star for the first time in three seasons. And when things go wrong offensively — the Celtics scored 74 points against a bad Toronto team — the point guard tends to hear it from the coach. He will really it if his coach also happened to be a point guard. Who knows if that is what got Rondo going? Doc Rivers doesn’t. “I wish I could get in someone’s head that deep,” Rivers said. We do know Rondo responded. Maybe this was his payback game, a big you-know-what to all those Eastern Conference coaches who opted for a guy from the New Jersey Nets — the Nets!! — instead of him. We will have to wait to learn Rondo’s version of events because he chose not to talk after the game.”
Rose, who sat for five games earlier this season with a sprained left big toe, now has missed seven games. That’s one more than in his first three seasons combined.
From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: As Derrick Rose shuffled across the Bulls locker room before Sunday’s 95-91 loss to the Celtics, somebody remarked he looked like an old man. “I feel like one,” Rose said with a tired smile. Rose, 23, missed his second straight game with lower back spasms and said he will see a specialist on Monday after the Bulls returned from their nine-game trip late Sunday. “It’s been hurting the whole trip,” Rose said. “I just played through it. It tended to get worse after every game. I was really worried about it. But I’m trying to stay positive. I don’t know what the diagnosis is. I just know my back is not right.” Rose said he doesn’t know what prompted the pain or exactly when it started. He was seen getting stretched on the sideline during stoppages of play as far back as the second game of the trip, on Jan. 30 in Washington.
The loss by the Bulls dropped Chicago into a tie in the loss column with the Miami Heat, which destroyed the paper tiger Atlanta Hawks 107-87 as LeBron James (23 points) led his team in scoring for the first time in four games.
From Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution: “The Hawks could charge the Heat rent for the amount of time spent in their paint. The Heat scored 44 points inside the blue at Philips Arena and made 26 of 31 free throws in a 107-87 rout of the Hawks Sunday night in front of a national television audience. While the Hawks were settling for jump shots, the Heat were driving, dishing, rebounding and converting free throws to send the Hawks on a five-game road trip with a blowout. “Any time a team is able to get that many fast-break points — and we let those guys penetrate, get to the basket, get to the free-throw line – you are in for a long night,” said Willie Green, who led the Hawks with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. “We have to do a better job with our effort on the defensive end of the court. We have to be better in order for us to be an elite type of team. Right now we’ve got to look in the mirror and do a better job than we did tonight.” The Hawks (18-10) gave up 21 fast-break points, were out-rebounded 52-38 and went to the free-throw line just seven times. They had a two-game win streak snapped, lost for the fifth straight time to the Heat in Atlanta and fell three games behind in the Southeast Division.”
This is the time of the season when long road trips are taking a toll on several teams.
Chicago’s loss ended a nine-game road trip that the Bulls endure every year when the circus or the ice show comes to town, the Clippers and Lakers have been plodding through the East because the Grammy Awards have taken over the Staples Center, and the San Antonio Spurs are enduring their annual Rodeo Road trip while their home arena is taken over by a bunch of animals.
Sunday’s matinee in Toronto was the final stop for the Lakers on a six-game trip.
Kobe Bryant hit the game-winner with 4.2 seconds left, and the Raptors were called for a 5-second violation on the ensuing inbounds play. I watched the game, and it was a quick 5 seconds.
From Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: “Dwane Casey took less than five seconds to make his point. “I like my money,” the Raptors coach said. “What little bit of money I make, I like it. I’m not going to comment on it, we’ll send it to the league, let them review it.” Casey was referring to one of the oddest and most controversial moments of the Raptors’ season, a five-second violation call in the crucial final seconds of what turned out to be a 94-92 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon — a bizarre turn of events that played a large role in the ultimate result. Down one point after a near-miracle Kobe Bryant bucket — a sublime jumper right in front of the Toronto bench — the Raptors had 4.2 seconds to get off a potential game-winning shot. But referee Scott Foster ignored what looked like an obvious timeout call from inbounder Rasual Butler and called the Raptors for a five-second violation. Bryant — him again! — converted one of two free throws after being quickly fouled with 3.7 seconds left, and the Raptors couldn’t get a good look on their final possession to steal a victory. “I knew what my reads were,” said Butler. “They put (7-foot Pau) Gasol on the ball. The first look was a look to the rim; it was tough to get over his length. And then I took my other two reads and when they weren’t open, I called timeout. “I thought I called it in good enough time. I thought he was turning to the table to award us the timeout, but that wasn’t the case.”
Elsewhere in the NBA on Sunday:
- The Houston Rockets’ three-game winning streak came to an end in Oakland, Calif. Rookie Klay Thompson had 14 points and sparked a late run to lead the Warriors past the Rockets 106-97. Thompson shot 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He is 12 of his last 16 from beyond the arc. Monta Ellis had 33 points and seven assists an David Lee added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who knocked off the Nuggets in Denver on Thursday night. “We want to get on a little win streak here and get back in the playoff hunt,” Thompson said. “We’re more than capable right now.”
- The Wizards won by 21. You read that correctly. JaVale McGee had eight dunks among his 22 points and 11 rebounds, and John Wall had 15 assists after dropping 10 dimes two nights earlier against Miami as Washington ended Detroit’s four-game winning streak with a 98-77 road victory.
- Utah shot 12-of-19 from the field and caused six Memphis turnovers in the final period to pull away for a 98-88 victory on the road. Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 23 points, Al Jefferson had 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Paul Millsap scored 16 as the Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak.