Rajon Rondo’s ACL injury from 2013 is still coming at a cost.
The NBA felt there was a price to be paid for “stretching’’ out his leg in Game 3, fining Rondo $25,000 on Sunday.
Rondo didn’t want to comment on the punishment but said he planned to appeal.
On Friday, Celtics forward Jae Crowder made a shot, and Rondo, who was sitting on the bench in street clothes, stuck his leg out and almost tripped him.
When Rondo was asked about the incident, he said, “When you tear an ACL, your legs get stiff on you every once in a while. I stretched my leg out. I also do that throughout the game. I guess [Crowder] was so deep into our bench that it looked like maybe whatever may have happened.’’
The league office obviously wasn’t buying it, and NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe announced the fine before Game 4.
The Celtics actually didn’t take much offense to Rondo’s antics.
“He may have had to stretch his leg out, I don’t know,’’ Celtics forward Gerald Green said. “I ain’t no snitch, so I don’t know. That’s not something I grew up being a part of. Where I’m from, they know snitches get stitches. So I don’t know.’’
Initially, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he didn’t see the play, but with a punishment handed out, he had no choice but to acknowledge it.
“I mean, the league handled it,’’ Hoiberg said. “We’re moving on.’’
When asked if the fine was warranted, he said, “I don’t know. Rajon, I’ve said it all along this year, he’s been as good a teammate, as good a person to coach as I’ve ever been around at any level, as far as my playing days and everything. Rajon is a guy that’s always going to go out, he’s going to compete, he’s going to give guys advice. He’s just been an absolute pleasure to be around all year.’’
Hoiberg also understands the mental warfare some players engage in during the playoffs, especially after playing with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota.
“There’s always intensity in the playoffs,’’ Hoiberg said. “That’s how it works, that’s how it goes.
“Everybody is competing for the same thing, and there’s going to be a lot of things that happen, just to ramp up the competitiveness and everything. So it’s just how it works at this time of year.’’
Around the rim
Celtics coach Brad Stevens again went small with his lineup, starting Green over Amir Johnson.
† In Dwyane Wade’s playoff career, his teams are 12-0 in series when they take a 2-0 lead.
† Cameron Payne has been inactive for Games 3 and 4.
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