Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo got into a scuffle and were both ejected from Wednesday night’s game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers.
And it stems from Boston Celtics beef.
Here’s the altercation, from the first quarter of what ended up being a Pelicans blowout.
The two were each handed double technical fouls and given the boot.
While it wasn’t immediately clear from game action why the two were so chippy, the announcers and Twitter speculated that the altercation stemmed from drama over Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement with the Celtics.
It started when Thomas, who was due a brief honor from the Celtics after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, asked to have his Boston moment moved to the same night of Pierce’s jersey retirement. The request didn’t have anything to do with Pierce, but Thomas’ desire to have his honor on a night that he would be healthy and playing.
When Cleveland’s return trip to Boston happened to be on the same night as Pierce’s jersey retirement, Pierce balked at Thomas’ request, not wanting to share the spotlight.
Thomas eventually relented and declined his planned honor from the Celtics to appease Pierce.
It turned out all for nought after the Cavs ended up trading Thomas at last week’s trade deadline and wasn’t with Cleveland on the night of Pierce’s jersey ceremony.
Where does Rondo fit in?
In standing by his former Celtics champion teammate Pierce, he threw some serious shade at Thomas, questioning his Boston credentials.
Rajon Rondo was irked to hear that the Celtics would honor Isaiah Thomas on any night. "What has he done?” Rondo asked. Told that he led the Celtics to the conference finals last year, Rondo remarked, “Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?”
— Bill Doyle (@BillDoyle15) January 17, 2018
Which leads us to Wednesday night, the first time Thomas and Rondo have met on the court since all the Celtics drama ensued.
So did the simultaneous ejection of both players stem from Pierce’s jersey drama?
Well, yeah. Per Los Angeles Times Lakers reporter Tania Ganguli:
Isaiah Thomas said Rondo brought up the video tribute kerfuffle today when they went at it. He said Rondo hit him in the face 3 times without consequence before he reacted. Says he doesn’t know Rondo and doesn’t know why Rondo reacted to him the way he did.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 15, 2018
It’s the latest chapter in an epic ongoing case of NBA pettiness and a nightmare season for Thomas that just won’t quit.
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