By Ben Golliver
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for one game without pay on Monday for "making contact with a game official" during Sunday's game against the Hawks in Atlanta. Rondo was also suspended, according to the NBA, because he "failed to cooperate with a league investigation."
With 3:19 remaining in the third quarter of Boston's 89-81 victory, Rondo was called for an offensive foul as he attacked the paint in transition, looking to get up a short jump shot. Rondo appeared to use his right arm to stave off Hawks forward Josh Smith, who went stumbling backward after the contact, which occurred as both players were running back on the break. After he was called for the offensive foul, Rondo walked slowly over to referee Rodney Mott and lightly bumped Mott's left shoulder with his chest as he calmly disputed the call. Rondo was not assessed a technical foul for the bump during the game.
The NBA's no-contact rule with a referee reads: "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."
Rondo must sit out the Celtics' game against the Knicks in New York on Monday night. He is earning $11 million this season; the one-game suspension without pay will cost him $100,000.
This is not Rondo's first suspension of the season nor is it his first suspension related to contact with an official.
In November, Rondo was suspended two games for an altercation with Nets forward Kris Humphries that carried into the baseline stands. (Rondo would later say that the suspension did not teach him anything.) In April 2012, Rondo chest-bumped referee Marc Davis in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series and earned a one-game suspension. In February 2012, Rondo was suspended two games for throwing a basketball at referee Sean Wright.
Rondo, 26, is averaging 13.2 points, 11.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals this season. Video via YouTube user theassociation