The Dallas Mavericks took a chance on Rajon Rondo, and they’re two losses away from having to call that chance a failure.
Rondo was benched Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Mavericks’ first-round NBA playoff series with the Rockets. The mercurial point guard played just 34 seconds in the second half of Dallas’ 111-99 loss to Houston.
Unsurprisingly, Rondo left the arena without speaking to reporters, but Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was more than willing to talk. While he didn’t specifically mention Rondo, Carlisle made it abundantly clear what it will take to get run on his team as the Mavs fight for their playoff lives.
“You have to ask him that question,” Carlisle quipped when asked if Rondo even cared that he sat out for most of the second half. “All I know right now is that we need everybody at their competitive best.
“This isn’t about one guy who did or didn’t play. This is about everybody pulling in the same direction for the organization. That’s what it’s about.”
Perhaps Rondo’s most egregious example of not giving his “competitive best” came in the first half when the Mavs were called for an 8-second violation because he walked the ball up the court. He later was called for a technical foul after this skirmish with James Harden.
Rondo and Carlisle have had issues in their short time together. They got into an on-court shouting match during a game in late February, leading to Rondo sitting on the bench in the second half. Sources told ESPN.com that Rondo and Carlisle didn’t speak at all about this most recent benching following Game 2.
Rondo usually turns his game on during the playoffs, but that hasn’t been the case in Dallas. He did score 15 points in 27 minutes of Game 1, though he was a minus-23. He was an absolute no-show in Game 2. He played just 9:55, thanks in large part to somehow committing four fouls in that time. He scored just four points, tallied one assist and grabbed two rebounds.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images