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Rajon Rondo’s days with Mavericks appear over

Rajon Rondo, right, reaches in and fouls Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) in Tuesday night’s Game 2 loss to Houston.USA Today Sports

DALLAS — Rajon Rondo has played his last game for the Dallas Mavericks.

After saying that Rondo was out indefinitely with a back injury sustained before he was benched in a Game 2 loss to Houston, coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged Wednesday that Rondo will not play another game for Dallas.

The four-time All-Star sat all but 34 seconds after halftime Tuesday night in a 111-99 loss that gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead in the first-round series. Game 3 is Friday night in Dallas.

Rondo came in a December trade with Boston and had a shouting match with Carlisle on the court that resulted in a one-game suspension in February. In Game 2, he was pulled after picking up his third and fourth fouls guarding James Harden early in the third quarter, and getting a technical after one of the calls.


While Carlisle could have hidden behind foul trouble as the reason for yet another ineffective game from the player acquired to try to boost Dallas’ playoff prospects, the coach changed everything by leaving Rondo on the bench for good.

The two quick fouls were puzzling, but paled compared to Rondo inexplicably getting called for an eight-second backcourt violation while walking the ball up the court in the first half. His poor defense right after the call led to an easy 3-pointer for Jason Terry.

‘‘I understand that the announcement that’s been made is going to have different interpretations,’’ Carlisle said Wednesday. ‘‘I am giving you our interpretation of it, and this is fact. From here, we’re moving forward. We've got a series to win and we've got to win Game 3 with the guys that are available.’’

But when asked if the free agent-to-be would wear a Dallas uniform again, Carlisle said, ‘‘No, I don't.’’

Rondo had 10 playoff triple-doubles in Boston, which won the title in 2008 and went the NBA Finals again two years later. The Mavericks gambled that they were getting the player Rondo was before missing large parts of two seasons because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.


Instead, Dallas ended up with a bad fit for an offense that has regressed after being among the league’s best. The stress of trying to make it work peaked when Rondo and Carlisle yelled obscenities at each other heading into a timeout against Toronto in February. That wasn’t long after Rondo missed six games because of a broken bone near his left eye.

Carlisle had praised Rondo since then, and as recently as the day before Game 2 when he said his point guard has been ‘‘playing really good basketball for the last month.’’

But with the Mavericks leading early in the fourth quarter and backup Devin Harris unavailable because of a toe injury, Carlisle still didn’t go back to Rondo. J.J. Barea, who scored 13 points, and seldom-used Raymond Felton were his choices.

‘‘I don’t make decisions out there,’’ Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said. ‘‘I thought Ray had some good stretches throughout the game, gave us a lift off the bench. I thought J.J. gave us a lift in the first half. I guess that’s what Coach rolled with.’’

Carlisle wasn’t interested in discussing why things didn’t work with Rondo, who will test free agency for the first time this summer. Kobe Bryant has been vocal about wanting him to join the Lakers.


‘‘I'm done with Rondo questions,’’ Carlisle said. ‘‘At this point we've got to turn our attention to Game 3. We've got to make it work with the guys that we have available.’’