Earlier, Rivers said on a radio show that he blamed Humphries for the incident. But the referees disagreed, with crew chief James Capers saying in a pool report after the game: “Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul.”
King also defended his player, who was not penalized yesterday.
“I really could care less of what the Celtics say about Kris,” King said. “I just know what he does for us.”
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. But, just as he did after those incidents, he insisted that he had learned his lesson about taking himself out of the game.
“I know I have to be out there with my teammates. That’s the thing about it,” he said. “But I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn’t try to start a fight.”
Rivers said he thinks Rondo now understands he is more valuable to his team if he can remain on the court.
“I don’t think he went in there thinking, ‘We’re going to get in a fight,’” Rivers said. “It’s snap, it’s quick, and it could happen to any of us, and it has happened to me.”
Rondo is averaging 12.9 points and a career-high 12.9 assists per game. He entered Wednesday night with a streak of 37 consecutive games with double-digit assists; that streak ended with his ejection, leaving him tied with John Stockton for the second-longest in NBA history.
Rondo said he will work on controlling his temper but also denied that it was a problem.
“I play the game the right way. I’m not a dirty player. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, but I have no intention of hurting anybody,” Rondo said. “I go out there and compete every night, and that’s how I play the game. I play the game hard; I play the game with an edge. I’m not a trash-talker. I don’t play the game dirty. I play hard and when one of my guys are disrespected, I retaliated.”