Rondo's flop occurred in the four quarter of Boston's 105-97 road loss to Atlanta on April 9. With a little under four minutes remaining in regulation and Atlanta leading 89-87, Rondo slowly fell backwards to the court while attempting to take a charge in transition.
Jeff Teague pushed the ball up in the open court and Rondo set up near the foul line in hopes of getting run over. Instead, Teague veered off to the side to avoid the contact, leaving Rondo to slowly lean backwards as if he had been hit by more than a gust of wind. No foul was called on the play.
This type of flop was specifically brought up in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, Clippers guard Chris Paul was defending a drive before he fell backwards dramatically to the ground as if he had been struck by an elbow.
“As the highlighted defensive player, No. 3 in the red uniform, defends the driving offensive player, he feels slight contact and then launches himself back to the floor,” the video’s narrator explained. “This reaction by the defensive player is an over-embellishment of marginal contact and is intended to draw an unearned offensive foul on his opponent.”
Rondo becomes the 28th player warned for flopping this season, joining Wizards guard John Wall, Timberwolves forwards Kevin Love and Corey Brewer, Spurs guard Patty Mills, Bucks center Zaza Pachulia, Rockets guard James Harden, Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, Clippers guard Chris Paul, Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, Warriors forward/center Marreese Speights, Sixers guard Tony Wroten, Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Heat guard Mario Chalmers, Bucks guard Brandon Knight, Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin, Suns forward P.J. Tucker, Pacers center Ian Mahinmi, Pacers guard C.J. Watson and Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.
Instituted before the 2012-13 season, the NBA's anti-flopping system provides one free warning to players before they are subjected to a scaling set of monetary fines.
- Violation 1: Warning
- Violation 2: $5,000 fine
- Violation 3: $10,000 fine
- Violation 4: $15,000 fine
- Violation 5: $30,000 fine
- Violation 6: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension
The NBA assigned 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams during the 2012-13 regular season. Five players received two infractions each, earning fines totaling $25,000, with zero players getting dinged three or more times.
During the 2013 playoffs, the NBA removed the free warning and began assessing fines. Although former commissioner David Stern said that the league's current policy "isn't enough" to curb the practice, the league did not adopt any changes to the policy during the offseason.
The NBA defines flopping as "any physical act that, following review, reasonably appears to be intended to cause the game officials to call a foul on another player" with the “primary factor” in determining a flop being whether “a player’s physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.” Rondo finished with 19 points (on 8-for-15 shooting), 12 assists and four rebounds against the Hawks.