The Mavericks suspended Rajon Rondo for Wednesday’s night game in Atlanta for conduct detrimental to the team, a day after the point guard had a heated exchange on the court with coach Rick Carlisle and was benched.
Rondo came out with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter of Dallas’ 99-92 win over Toronto at home Tuesday. He was bringing the ball up the court when Carlisle angrily shouted for a timeout and exchanged words with Rondo from several feet away as the player headed to the bench.
The Mavericks were trailing by nine when Rondo was pulled and rallied with backups Devin Harris and J.J. Barea running the offense along with leading scorer Monta Ellis, who sometimes handles the ball.
The team didn’t comment beyond Wednesday’s announcement of the one-game suspension. Carlisle was expected to meet with reporters before the game against the Hawks.
Acquired in a trade with Boston in December to try to improve the playoff outlook for the Mavericks in the difficult Western Conference, Rondo hasn’t had an easy transition.
The four-time All-Star who won a title with the Celtics in 2008 was on the bench in the final minutes of a four-point loss to Chicago about a month after the trade and said afterward he didn’t have a problem with Carlisle’s decision. Dallas’ offense has sunk from the top of the league to fourth in points per game since he arrived.
Also brought in to improve the Mavericks’ perimeter defense with a long list of strong guards in the West, Rondo had some success against Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook before breaking a bone near his left eye at Orlando and missing six games.
In his first game back after the All-Star break, Rondo couldn’t slow Westbrook in a blowout loss to the Thunder. He bounced back with a solid outing in a win over Harden and the Rockets.
The Mavericks made the move for Rondo after offseason pickup Jameer Nelson struggled at the point. Dallas gave up Nelson, swingman Jae Crowder, forward Brandan Wright and two draft picks for Rondo and forward Dwight Powell, who has played sparingly.
The win over Toronto gave the Mavericks a sweep of a three-game homestand and pulled them within half a game of Houston for third place in the tightly packed West. There are four teams separated by just a game and a half in the battle for two spots with home-court advantage in the first round.