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Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for the third time this calendar year on Thursday when the NBA told him to sit out two games without pay for starting a skirmish that sent players sprawling into the courtside seats.
Rondo will miss tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sunday's against the Bucks in Milwaukee. He will also give up $200,000 in pay.
Celtics center Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for his role in the scuffle, and Nets forward Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000.
Rondo was thrown out of Wednesday night's 95-83 loss to the Nets in the second quarter when he shoved Nets forward Kris Humphries off the parquet to retaliate for a hard foul on Garnett. A shoving match ensued; Rondo, Humphries and Wallace were all ejected.
Rondo spoke with the league on the telephone on Thursday and made his case.
"I told them the truth," he said after practice at the Celtics' workout facility in suburban Boston. "I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than just a pushing war."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said in the afternoon that he was hopeful Rondo would not be suspended because no punches were thrown - or at least none caught on camera. But he said he feared the fact that the scuffle went into the stands could lead to a suspension.
Rondo was suspended twice last season after losing his temper - once when he threw a ball at a referee, and again during the playoffs when he chest-bumped an official while disputing a foul call.
- Associated Press