In April, Isaiah Thomas helped lead the Boston Celtics to a contentious 4-2 series victory over Rajon Rondo’s Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.
In January, with both players on new teams, Rondo delved into IT’s beef with Paul Pierce, stemming from a schedule conflict between Pierce’s Celtics jersey retirement and a video tribute to Thomas. Rondo, obviously, sided with his former teammate, saying the Celtics organization honors champions, not players who compete in conference championships: “What has [Thomas] done? … Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?”
On Wednesday, now that Thomas is playing for his third team in 10 months, they met on the court for the first time since Rondo’s comments.
The meeting didn’t last long, as they bumped each other into double technicals for 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Last month Rondo had some things to say about IT wanting a tribute video from the Celtics..
Today they got into it and were ejected 👀 pic.twitter.com/nCw0KpEkXo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 15, 2018
Rondo apparently initiated the extracurricular physicality with this elbow to Thomas’ face, warranting a flagrant foul.
Rondo and IT exchange a few words.pic.twitter.com/AU1SsUok5o
— MyNBAUpdate (@MyNBAUpdate) February 15, 2018
Rondo didn’t talk to media after the game, a 139-117 New Orleans Pelicans victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. But Thomas, as has become typical for him, talked, and talked, and talked.
“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said, according to ESPN. “Maybe that is what’s wrong. I don’t know. There’s nothing. Nothing should’ve made that escalate like it did. He already had his agenda written down right when I checked into the game. It was obvious. He picked me up full court, trying to be physical.
“I don’t know what was going on with him. I don’t know why I got thrown out. I don’t want to comment too much on it. … It was obvious what was going on. He was being too aggressive for whatever reason, and he also hit me in the face three times. At some point, as a human, if no one is going to protect me, I got to protect myself, and that is when I spoke up and got upset. I hope the NBA figures something out with that, because it was wrong for me to be ejected.”
Apparently, the lead-up had a whole lot to do with their histories with the Celtics.
An inside source tells me Rondo and IT were arguing over who was the more beloved Celtics point guard…Rondo said something about no video tribute, IT mentioned Rondo being carried by the Big 3 and it just escalated from there…
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) February 15, 2018