Frustration, arrogance and ego led Rajon Rondo to disobey Rick Carlisle on the court which resulted in a shouting match between player and coach, followed by getting benched for the rest of the game, in which the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Toronto Raptors 99-92.
So Monta Ellis scored 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 18. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris combined to score 27 off the bench as if Carlisle was able to get his point across to Rondo that he doesn’t really need him to put points on the board. Rondo finished with 4 points in 18 minutes, carrying on with his lackluster offensive form. The big news out of this game was Rondo getting in the face of yet another head coach, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Kendrick Perkins once said about Rondo that he’s a diva. Doc Rivers has said that he’s an extremely difficult player to coach, and almost came to blows with him once. Add that to Rondo, individually at least, playing well under expectations (averaging 9 points and 6 assists per game) and not really a fan of being told what to do and you get the combustion we got on the floor and the bench in this game. Not surprising at all.
So what happened? Carlisle wanted Rondo to call a time out. Instead, Rondo ignored him and walked up the court and the ball, making up his own play. Carlisle came onto the court, called a timeout himself and then benched Rondo for the rest of the game. He yelled at Rondo to “sit his ass down“ or something of the sort while Rondo answered back with a few expletives. Even after he was benched, Rondo was fuming.
Rondo continued to yell at Carlisle. At first the head coach told him to shut up, but later started ignoring him. Rondo didn’t stop, and it wasn’t until assistant coach Jamahl Mosley got in his face and told him to shut up as well that Rondo’s childish tantrum ended. Rondo didn’t speak to the press after the game, throwing his jersey to the fans before going into the tunnel. Carlisle wasn’t the happiest of campers during the postgame press conference, and didn’t elaborate past … well, it’s an emotional game, and we had a difference of opinion. There was an exchange, and then in my mind, it was over…
Rondo isn’t happy with Carlisle being the one who calls most of the plays, not getting the freedom he had later on during his Celtics days. He also isn’t happy playing in an offense that’s quite heavy on the pick and roll with Monta Ellis, sharing the backourt with him, seeing quite a lot of touches being a bit more effective than Rondo when it comes to the pick and roll the Mavericks utilize. But the Mavericks are a better defensive team with Rondo on the floor and overall possibly better suited to handle the better teams in the league since his arrival.
Things like this happen between coaches and players, especially when you have someone who doesn’t like to see his authority questioned on one side and a player that often puts himself above the “law” like Rondo tends to do. But things like this happen quite a lot and get dusted under the rug. This isn’t the end for Rondo in Dallas or the end of harmony and team chemistry for the Mavericks. Despite all of the drama, it’s not the end of the world.