Did Dwyane Wade make a dirty play on Rajon Rondo? No.

58 Comments

There are some mad Celtics fans out there today.

Well, happy about the outcome of Game 3, but mad when they watched Rajon Rondo go down with a gruesome dislocated left elbow.

And they are putting it on Dwyane Wade. They are saying he made a dirty play, pulling Rajon Rondo to the ground in the third quarter. That he caused the injury.

Kevin Garnett was among them, according to Doc Rivers (quote via CBS’s Ken Berger).

“Kevin was furious,” Rivers said in the hallway outside the Celtics’ locker room. “He just didn’t like what happened.”

A reporter tried to ask Wade about it postgame in what was a poorly phrased question that Wade brushed off while LeBron called it “retarded.” (Which could be another issue all together.)

To me, what Wade did was not dirty. If you think it was, then you are:

1) A rabid Celtics fan,

2) Focusing on the result not the play,

3) Both of the above.

Something similar to this happens a handful of times every game, where guys get tanged up and both go to the ground. This was not a case where Wade grabbed and threw Rondo to the ground, the two got tangled up and Wade fel and grabbed Rondo as he was going down and that caused Rondo to fall. The intent was different. Rondo has harder falls than that every game when he attacks the rim, and he usually walks away. The result was a fluke.  This play was playoff basketball but there was no intent to injure.

The result was painful to watch. But to focus on the result and not the intent misses the point to me — every game there are fouls that send guys to the ground and could result in ugly injuries, but 99 times out of 100 they don’t. The Celtics have made a living on the hard foul in recent years. What referees have to decide was whether the foul was reckless in its intent to injure. That was not the case here, this was two guys just falling down. It was just a fluky, bad result.

Wade did not make a dirty play here. People watching the game through Celtics green glasses will not see it that way, that’s what fans do. But this was not intentional. And the Celtics should be careful about retaliation — they are still behind in this series and will have enough trouble beating the Heat without digging themselves a deeper hole with free throws or ejected players.