Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
"Obviously I was upset about the call," Rondo said. "I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech. As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot. I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. But that’s what it appears to be."
This is how the rule is worded according to the NBA:
"Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate."
Asked whether he was concerned about getting suspended, Rondo said, "It’s out of my control. Obviously I want to be therefore my teammates. But other than that I have no control right now."
Rondo said that coach Doc Rivers told him to keep his composure and his teammates told him the same thing.
"They all thought I was obviously in the wrong," Rondo said. "It may seem like I bumped him, but like I said, I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. I know the rules. Like I said, my momentum carried me into him. I thought he stopped."
Rajon Rondo is telling a half-truth. He did trip on Marc Davis' foot. But the chest bump was not a result of the stumble, it was an intentional move.
I don't want to over-analyze Rondo's body language/movements but… if he truly lost his balance to the point where he collided with another person, wouldn't Rajon raise his hands to brace himself? Rondo never put out his hands. He stuck out his chest.
Two players (Hedu Turkoglu and Robin Lopez) and Lakers coach Mike Brown were suspended one game this year for making contact with an official. Rondo's incident appears more egregious than the plays involving Turkoglu or Lopez.
I believe Rondo will be suspended for Game 2.
On Page 2, what to do about Josh Smith.
Smith was the catalyst — "an animal," said Drew — and his line was the end product of a classic Josh Smith night. You take the bad (needless long jump shots), with the good (pretty much everything else) and it adds up to an All-Star caliber player who swung the balance Sunday night. Smith finished with 22 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, exemplary defense and, er, a true shooting mark in the high 40s.
While you wonder if he'll ever get it on the jump shots — he talked with a straight face about "not settling" after a game in which he took 11 long 2s — the magnificence of the rest of his game tends to get lost in the teeth-gnashing throughout Philips Arena every time he tees up a J early in the clock. The Hawks were +17 with Smith on the court Sunday night and -8 in the five minutes they slogged through without him — including a key stretch to start the fourth that let Boston get back in the game.
You'll get no argument from me, Josh Smith played a helluva game. But Smith's Achilles heel is consistency, no? Can he really bring that effort in every game? And the Celtics defense will react.
I'm more concerned with the Hawks role players. Guys like Kirk Hinrich and Jason Collins. The Celtics cannot allow them to make significant contributions.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Early birds got the win | Fast start gets results for Hawks | Horford, Pachulia leaving big void in middle | CSNNE – Best and worst: Hawks 83 – Celtics 74 | Thrown for a loss | WEEI – How did the Celtics lose the game? Let us count the ways