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Kevin Garnett: NBA 'isn't the Girl Scouts'

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Published on Nov 28, 2012

BOSTON -- If this is what Rajon Rondo thinks of leadership, the Celtics are in big trouble.

All summer, everyone from president Danny Ainge to coach Doc Rivers and on down the line told anyone who would listen that this is the 26-year-old point guard's team now. No longer Paul Pierce's. Not Kevin Garnett's. But a matured Rondo's. Then, Wednesday night's Nets game happened.

Just as he did last season, when he thew a ball at one referee and chest-bumped another, Rondo let his emotions get the best of him, completely overreacting to a hard Kris Humphries foul on Kevin Garnett late in the first half.

As referee crew chief James Caper said after a home Celtics loss to the Nets that was much uglier than the 95-83 final at the TD Garden, "Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul."

In other words, just as he was last season, Rondo will be suspended, especially considering he threw closed fists as he shoved Humphries into the stands. His history won't help, either. Speculation sets the over/under on games the Celtics will be without their so-called leader at 3-5 games, but as New York Times reporter Howard Beck suggested, "Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith got 10 games each because they continued fight into the stands."

Just like his legendary 37-game double-digit assist streak of John Stockton proportions, Rondo's maturation process came to a screeching halt against the Nets. With it, probably, goes his Most Valuable Player aspirations. When's the last time an NBA MVP was suspended for fighting during a season? This was the year he was supposed to make the leap. Instead, he takes a step backwards. After the game, Rondo left without speaking to the media, leaving Pierce, Garnett and the rest of his Celtics teammates to face questions only he could answer.

"You don't want to get into any altercations where it's going to cost you any games," said Pierce, who dubbed the altercation "a pushing match" from his limited perspective. "The best you can do is try to play mediator in there."

"I don't think anybody should get thrown out of a game," added Rivers. "We all have to keep our emotions."

"Since I've been here, we've taken a lot of pride with being C's, putting this jersey on, and sometimes I question that we really understand what it means, and that's bothersome," finished Garnett. "I'm a very prideful person, as is true of a lot of people who built this before me, and the due diligence and the responsibility that comes with that has to be self. You've got to look yourself in the mirror, but we've got to get that back somehow."

For more on the Celtics, visit weei.com/celtics.

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