Isaiah Thomas Explains Why He Was Involved in Bizarre Altercation With Rajon Rondo

Isaiah Thomas has made headlines on numerous occasions over the course of the last week because of his reported beef with LeBron James and the Cavaliers. But on Wednesday night, Thomas set his sights on beefing with a different player—and it ended with him getting ejected from a game before it even reached the end of the first quarter.

Thomas and Rajon Rondo were both ejected from the Lakers/Pelicans game on Wednesday after they were involved in an altercation towards the end of the first frame. The two players got tangled up with one another several times and exchanged words before they were hit with double technical fouls and sent packing. It was an odd scene with Rondo seemingly trying to provoke Thomas while guarding him. You can watch it play out here.

Following the game, Thomas was asked about what happened between him and Rondo, and he claimed Rondo hit him in the face three times during the game before tensions boiled over. He also claimed Rondo repeatedly brought up the video tribute the Celtics planned for Thomas on the same night as Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony before eventually canceling it at Thomas’ request.

“Whatever reason, he's an upset guy about me,” Thomas said. “I don't know what it is, but it's fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I'm far past that…For me to be ejected was uncalled for.”

Rondo didn’t speak with the media after the game on Wednesday night, but it’s worth noting that if he did taunt Thomas over the tribute, it wouldn’t come as a total surprise. Rondo was asked about the tribute after a game in January, and he spoke out against the Celtics deciding to do it in the first place.

“What has he done?” Rondo asked at the time, before being told about how Thomas led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and responding accordingly. “Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?”

However, Thomas told reporters he wasn’t upset about what Rondo said when he was asked about those comments on Wednesday night.

“He said what he said, I laughed it off,” Thomas said. “It was what it was. I'm the one that stopped the video tribute from happening because I wanted Paul Pierce to have his full night. I didn't want to take nothing from him. I know [Rondo] played on Paul Pierce's team. He's gonna always have Paul Pierce's back, which is fine. I didn't lose sleep over it. It was obvious [that it] continued to be brought up with what happened tonight.”

Thomas also told reporters he doesn’t share any bad blood from the past with Rondo. He theorized Rondo might possibly be upset with him because Thomas and the Celtics beat Rondo and the Bulls in the playoffs last season, but he couldn't say for sure why Rondo seemed so irked at him.

“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said. “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.”

Whatever the case may be, Thomas seemed to shrug off the altercation with Rondo. But he said he does plan to try and appeal the technical fouls he received during the game. He thinks Rondo, not him, should be forced to deal with the consequences of them.

“It felt like they were waiting for me to get upset,” Thomas said, referencing the game’s officials. “I got hit in the face three times, and the third time I got hit in my face, I reacted and tried to tell the refs, 'Are you guys going to control this?' I definitely need to get those technical fouls rescinded.”

Thomas and Rondo weren’t the only ones to get ejected from the game. Lakers head coach Luke Walton got ejected just before halftime, too, for arguing with the game’s officials. The Pelicans went on to win 139-117.

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LeBron and the New-Look Cavs; Paul Pierce Greatest Celtic Scorer Ever? | Out of Bounds

After trading six players away and picking up four new ones at the NBA trade deadline, the Cavs look refreshed, focused, and happy for the first time in a long time. Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew discuss why the subtraction of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, and others has helped Cleveland, how far they’ll go, and whether or not LeBron and the Cavs organization shaded the departed players. With Robert Parish calling Paul Pierce the “greatest offensive Celtic ever” before Boston retired his No. 34 jersey on Sunday, the guys debate that controversial claim. Gil being Gil, he’s got a hot take that could get him banned from Boston. Next, following Eagles lineman Lane Johnson’s assertion that nobody enjoys playing on the Patriots because it’s a “fear-based organization,” the gang gets into the importance of having fun playing professionally in “The Pull-Up.” Finally, DeAndre’ Bembry’s recent arrest for driving 128 mph in a 55 mph zone sparks a conversation about why athletes, who have so much to lose, are still racing down the street like some maniacs, and Gil shares a story about the time he and Jason Richardson raced Escalades in LA.

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Isaiah Thomas Trade; Gronk Going Hollywood?; Special Guest Kenyon Martin | Out of Bounds

On today’s show, special guest Kenyon Martin joins Gil and the #OutofBounds gang to talk the day’s biggest sports stories. The convo kicks off with the looming NBA trade deadline and how trades affect team chemistry. Next, the crew discusses the three-year extension Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams just signed with the Clippers. Did he sell himself short in seeking stability and security? With late breaking news that the Cavs are trading Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and their protected first-round pick in 2018 to the Lakers for Larry Nance, Jr. and Jordan Clarkson, our “In Play” look at Cleveland’s big nationally-televised Sunday matchup in Boston — when the Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s jersey — is extra spicy. Adam and Pierce break down the impact that the trade will have on both teams, as well as how it will affect the big game. Finally, following a report that Rob Gronkowski could retire from football to become a Hollywood action star, the team weighs in on how good he’d be, and also makes picks for athletes who would be great flexing muscles on the big screen.

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Jalen Rose Calls Paul Pierce ‘Petty’ Over Celtics Remarks, Pierce Fires Back With ’81’ Joke

The NBA is taking #PettyWarz to a whole new level in 2018.

First, a little in-game wrassling between the Rockets and Clippers spilled into a locker room confrontation that had Twitter aflame with things like secret tunnels, diversions, Austin Rivers being arrogant, and LAPD takeovers. The following night, Orlando guard Arron Afflalo threw a reckless haymaker at Minnesota's Nemanja Bjelica. Then, after Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier became the NBA's eighth and ninth ejections over the past three days, Wizards coach Scott Brooks dialed it up yet another notch by inviting Dwight Howard back onto the court to shoot the technical free throws, only to see Howard make both, do the Sam Cassell big balls dance, and blow a kiss to the Washington coach.

Incredible.

But perhaps the juiciest story of all revolves around Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas. Most of you know the details by now: Celtics announce celebration for Thomas during Feb. 11 Cleveland-Boston matchup; Pierce gets angry, wants own night for his jersey retirement; former Celtics sit down beside campfire, gush about how amazing they were; media/Twitter (ahem, Shannon Sharpe) remind Pierce he's no Kobe; Thomas posts veiled “hating hours” Instagram message. It could be the plot for season 2 of Big Little Lies.

Yesterday on ESPN's NBA Countdown, Jalen Rose summed up the whole thing when he called Pierce “petty” to his face, and the resulting back and forth had Pierce looking like he was ready to risk his job. (Thomas, for his part, liked the clip on social media.)

I mean, is Jalen Rose not correct? The Celtics honoring Isaiah during the game does not take away from Pierce's moment afterward. The Celtics honoring Isaiah for not just his play on the court but for what he inspired in their fans and the Boston community does not take away from Pierce's moment afterward.

Of course, being that petty is the theme of the month, Pierce wouldn't let it go, coming back at Rose with yet another “81” joke. The former Toronto Raptors guard will probably never live these down, but at least he can take it and keep it moving.

And the critics say the NBA isn't entertaining anymore because the Cavs and Warriors always win. 

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On today’s episode of #OutofBounds, Gil tells the story of the time he tried to break up a fight between Orlando Magic teammates and ended up being the only person who got punched. With the Carolina Panthers still in search of a new owner, many people have showed interest, including celebs Dale Earnhardt Jr., Diddy, and Steph Curry. The crew weighs in on who they think would be the best fit and who will actually be the next owner. Paul Pierce dead set against Isaiah Thomas getting a tribute video on the same night as his Boston Celtics jersey-retiring. While Adam and Pierce believe IT can get at least a 30-second video, Gil thinks Pierce should have a full-on Pierce-Land tribute like Kobe. One thing they all agree on is that Kid Rock should not headline the NHL All-Star Game. 

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Gordon Hayward Suffers Brutal Leg Injury in First Game With Celtics

Just six minutes into his first season with his new team, the Boston Celtics, All-Star forward Gordon Hayward suffered an absolutely brutal leg injury in a clip that nobody would blame you for skipping over (seriously, it's graphic).

It is being reported that Hayward suffered a fracturted left ankle. 

During this recently concluded offseason, Hayward signed a four-year/$128 million contract with a Celtics team that was expected to challenge the Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy. Obviously those hopes took a serious hit tonight, not that that's on the minds of any of the players at Quicken Loans Arena, as evidenced by these reactions:

Still other players who are not in Cleveland expressed their condolences and shock on social media as well:

We will update when we have more info.

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Paul Pierce Compares Kevin Durant Teaming With Warriors to Kid Teaming With Bullies Who Beat Him Up

Paul Pierce wasn’t a big fan of Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors last summer. He sent out this tweet a short time after KD announced his decision:

He also did an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio a few months later and expressed his displeasure with KD taking his talents to Oakland. “I’m an old school guy,” Pierce said at the time. “I’m a competitor…When you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That’s always been something that’s driven me. Today’s day and age, a lot of these guys are friends. That’s like if Bird decided to go play with Magic or something.”

It prompted a response from KD’s new teammate Draymond Green, who fired shots back at Pierce. But apparently, it didn’t soften Pierce’s stance on the situation. Because on Tuesday, Pierce appeared on ESPN’s The Jump and once again talked about KD leaving Oklahoma City to team up with Golden State. And he compared it to a kid teaming up with a group of bullies who beat him up.

“I’m not a guy who goes into the neighborhood, gets beat up by the bully’s gang, and then now I want to join their gang,” Pierce said. “[That’s] just not me. I want to fight. Let’s go! I mean, I’m gonna stand up for myself. That’s just the competitive nature of where I come from, the era I grew up in.”

Pierce isn’t the only former or current NBA player who has criticized KD for joining the Warriors. But he has been one of his most outspoken critics, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to let KD off the hook for it anytime soon. KD, meanwhile, seems to be at peace with his decision and has stopped responding to players like Pierce who have been critical of him. You can check out Pierce’s full KD rant in the clip above.

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Kendrick Lamar Pays Tribute to Paul Pierce: ‘You Are The Truth’

Paul Pierce played his final NBA game two weeks ago, when the Clippers fell to the Jazz in Game 7 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. In his 19-year career, Pierce made 10 All-Star teams and won one NBA title (as well as the NBA Finals MVP) in 2008.

Many NBA greats, including Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Garnett, paid tribute to The Truth, who didn’t have his best year with Los Angeles this season but had an incredibly storied career. Pierce received another amazing tribute Thursday—from his fellow California native, Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick and Pierce grew up in cities that were about 40 minutes apart. Pierce is from Inglewood while Kendrick was raised in Compton.

In the tribute video, which the Clippers posted on Twitter, Kendrick says Pierce “put all of Los Angeles on his back.”

“Life is not all about the wins and losses,” Kendrick said, before thanking Pierce on behalf of Los Angeles. “It’s also about how you affect people. Paul Pierce, you are The Truth.”

The track in the background may sound familiar—it’s Kendrick's own “The Heart Part 4.” 

Inglewood has remained a part of Pierce’s story throughout his career.

Pierce, who retired at 39, made an unforgettable appearance on Area 21 with his former Celtics teammates earlier this week.

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Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook Are Reportedly ‘Back on Talking Terms’

During an interview back in September, former Thunder player Kendrick Perkins talked about the beef between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and said that his goal was to get them to talk again. He played with Durant and Westbrook in Oklahoma City from 2011 through 2015 and said he was bothered by the fact that they had stopped communicating with one another after spending about a decade playing together.

“That don’t sit well with me that they are actually not talking,” he said. “It’s not a beef they’re supposed to have.”

On Monday night, Perkins appeared on TNT’s “Area 21” alongside a handful of his former Celtics teammates, including Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, and while they spent most of their time talking about their old Boston teams, Perkins also touched on the Durant and Westbrook dynamic. And at one point, he revealed that Durant and Westbrook are “back on talking terms.” He didn’t get into too many specifics, but Perkins said that the two talked in early April after Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s single-season triple-double record.

“I think the night that Russ actually broke the record, I had texted KD,” Perkins said. “The next day, he was talking about something and he sent me a text and was like, 'Me and Russ had a nice conversation.' The media don’t even know nothing about it, but I just let it be known that they’re back on talking terms, the differences aside.”

Perkins also talked about how he thinks Durant and Westbrook could be teammates again one day. He said he wouldn’t put it past Durant to win a title with the Warriors and then return to the Thunder, much like LeBron James won titles with the Heat before going back to the Cavaliers.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if KD makes a little run. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back to Oklahoma,” he said. “Because in my opinion, I don’t think Russ is going anywhere. He’s that type of guy. He just wants to stick it out, and he just wants you to give him those pieces and he just wants to roll with it. He’s not going and trying to run and chase [titles]. And one thing about it, he’s not begging nobody to come play with him.”

It’s been a while since we’ve heard about any drama surrounding Durant and Westbrook. They connected for an alley-up during the NBA All-Star Game in February, and since then, the only evidence of any beef between them has involved their family members and not them. So it’s not hard to believe that they’re “back on talking terms” as Perkins said. They’ll probably never be as close as they once were, but it sounds like, at the very least, they are prepared to be civil towards one another moving forward.

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Isaiah Thomas Is Now a Certified Celtics Legend

Over the summer, the Boston Celtics went all in pursuing free agent Kevin Durant. Not only did Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens bring their own players, they even enlisted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to help recruit. The hope was that Brady, the reigning Boston-area champion, could help convince KD to become the next Celtics great. Little did any of them know, that next great was with them the whole time.

Isaiah Thomas came to the Celtics in February of 2015 as part of a three-team deal with the Pistons and the Suns. Thomas was the last pick of the 2011 Draft, 60th overall, selected by the Sacramento Kings. The 5’9” Thomas was a revelation for a Kings team desperately in need of one, but they already had Darren Collison, so they traded Thomas to the Suns for Alex Oriakhi—the 57th pick in the 2013 Draft, he’d never play a single game in the NBA—and a trade exception. Kings gonna Kings.

The thought this past summer was that Durant could become the next Celtic in line to receive that honor. That wasn’t the first time Thomas was overlooked. It might very well be the last. 

Which brings us to last night. Thomas, fresh off delivering a eulogy for his younger sister and hours of dental surgery following an impromptu on-court extraction in Game 1, dropped 53 points on the Wizards, the second-highest total in Celtics playoff history, leading the Celtics to an overtime Game 2 win. He scored 29 in the fourth quarter and overtime alone, stared down the much larger Markieff Morris, outdueled John Wall (who put up 40 points and 13 assists), and did it all on what would have been his sister Chyna’s 23rd birthday. A 2-0 series lead is not insurmountable, of course, but it may as well be with the Celtics—they’re 34-0 all-time in series where they take the first two games.

Circumstances aside, Thomas has simply been doing in the playoffs what he’s done all season long. He was 7th in PER, second in Offensive Win Shares, as the Celtics posted the best record in the East. He missed six games, in which the Celtics went 2-4. In any other season Thomas would have been a serious MVP candidate. He averaged nearly 29 points per game, scored over 2,000 points, dropped 20 in the All-Star Game. He’s been on NBA Jam fire all year long. An All-Star last season as well, his leap this year should make him a lock for Most Improved Player.

In the playoffs, all he’s done is drop 33 on the Bulls the day after his sister was killed in a car crash, then lead the top-seeded Celtics back to a six-game series win after dropping the first two at home. He lost his 3-point shooting stroke through the final three games of the first round, going a combined 3-of-26, but rediscovered it in time for the second, shooting 5-of-11 in Game 1 and 5-of-12 in Game 2. His Celtics have won six straight playoff games now, and seem destined for a showdown with the Cavaliers that few expected after going down 0-2 to the eight-seeded Bulls. And he’s apparently made longtime fan Floyd Mayweather a lot of money.

Thomas’s emergence as a top-level postseason star comes at an interesting time in Celtics history as well. Paul Pierce, the 2008 Finals MVP, announced his retirement after 18 seasons. Soon enough, Pierce’s No. 34 will rise to the Boston Garden rafters. The thought this past summer was that Durant could become the next Celtic in line to receive that honor. That wasn’t the first time Thomas was overlooked. It might very well be the last.  

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