Rajon Rondo has tested the patience of Celtics president Danny Ainge over the past few years, most recently with his second suspension of the season involving an NBA referee, but like the rest of his teammates, Ainge came to the defense of the team's star point guard.
"I think Rajon is learning all the time," Ainge said Thursday on the Big Show. "I think he's a smart kid. He didn't want this to happen. He's just an emotional kid."
It was no secret Ainge attempted to trade Rondo for Chris Paul prior to the season, although the C's president denied a number of rumors during the regular season. Who knows how Ainge might have responded this offseason if Rondo's one-game suspension after chest bumping a ref in Game 1 put the Celtics in an 0-2 hole?
"I don't think anybody was happier with our victory than Rondo was," said Ainge of Game 2. "I saw a smile on his face that you rarely see."
Now, Ainge recognizes the fact that Rondo has an opportunity to repay his Celtics teammates in Game 3 against the Hawks in Boston on Friday night.
"I know that Rajon will be ready," said Ainge. "I know that he'll be emotional. I hope he doesn't try to do too much."
As for what seems to be a weekly -- if not hourly -- question for Ainge and the Celtics, what's the latest on Ray Allen's ankle status?
"I'm not certain," said Ainge. "I guess a lot depends on how his foot responds after practice today, but he got through practice today, which is very encouraging."