Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/1/12
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Some people are so touchy. Dislocate their elbow one time or make a series-altering uncalled hack -- or maybe even both -- and they just will not let it go. Rajon Rondo is not about to forgive Dwyane Wade for some of the physical plays the Heat guard has leveled on him over the past two years. That was clear from his comments after practice Thursday, when the Celtics point guard was asked about his flagrant foul on Wade late in Tuesday's season opener in Miami. When the topic of the flagrant and the technical foul he picked up earlier in the fourth quarter came up, it was noted that Rondo has also taken some hard hits in the recent history of the rivalry. "Tell me about it," he said. Wade took exception to the flagrant foul, which was called after Rondo corralled Wade around the shoulders as the Heat guard drove to the basket with 16 seconds left in the game. Wade called it a "punk play," and his comment elicited raised eyebrows at the Celtics' practice facility. "I didn't yank him down or do any of the dirty play you've seen him play in the past," Rondo said. "So that's what it is." Despite the attention the hard foul drew as a result of Wade's remarks, Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed surprise that the foul sparked any reaction at all. Rivers said he would be "very surprised" if the league found reason to fine Rondo or take any further action on the foul, which Rivers felt was good and clean. "I thought it was nondescript," Rivers said. "I really did. He grabbed him around the shoulders. It wasn't that hard. I think it's much ado about nothing, personally. I hate going back to our day but, gosh, that would have been maybe a foul. I didn't think it was that big a deal, but I guess it is." Rondo and Wade have faced off in several pressure situations over the years, but the most memorable moment occurred in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals. Rondo was defending Wade and poked the ball away, but in an attempt to keep Rondo from getting to the loose ball, Wade pulled Rondo to the floor. As both players fell, Rondo put out his left arm to brace himself -- leading to a gruesome dislocation as Rondo's elbow bent backward. Rondo left the game but returned to start the fourth quarter and lead Boston to a 97-81 victory. That would turn out to be the Celtics' only win of the series. Another moment that must stick in Rondo's craw came last spring in Game 2 of the East finals. With Paul Pierce fouled out, Rondo drove to the hoop and was clearly raked across the face by Wade, but there was no whistle. The Celtics went on to lose that game but won the next three before falling to the Heat in seven games. Had Wade's slap been called, the series might have ended differently. Rondo was careful on Thursday to step around criticizing the officials. He described his technical as basically a mouthguard malfunction, explaining that his words got garbled when his mouthpiece popped out as he spoke to the referee. Rondo would not take any verbal shots, veiled or obvious, at the refs. He stayed mostly restrained on the topic of Wade, too, but relaxed just enough to get his message across. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
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