Rajon Rondo played only 10 minutes and scored points Tuesday in the Mavericks’ Game 2 loss to the Houston Rockets. David J. Phillip AP
Rajon Rondo played only 10 minutes and scored points Tuesday in the Mavericks’ Game 2 loss to the Houston Rockets. David J. Phillip AP

Mac Engel

No injury way out: Mavericks should cut Rondo before Game 3

By Mac Engel

tengel@star-telegram.com

April 22, 2015 3:00 PM

The Dallas Mavericks should cut Rajon Rondo right now. If the NBA won’t allow that during the postseason, he should be suspended before Friday night’s Game 3 and never play another game for the Mavs, regardless of the injury situation.

Ultimately, the giant playoff mess that is the Mavericks is on an owner who took his best player’s youth for granted and a team that now sponsors in-game dunk contests when it is on defense. Right now the man who deserves to be thrown into the FW/d Bear Pit is a point guard who took quitting to new heights and committed one of the worst violations in sports.

Rondo’s “performance” in Game 2 of the Mavs’ 111-99 loss against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night is something that Lamar Odom could admire. Never in this century has this region seen a player shut it down the way the starting point guard did for the Dallas Mavericks. RR is the perfect acronym for his Game 2: Rested and Relaxed.

As a convenient coincidence, according to ESPN.com, the Mavs are now saying that Rondo has a back injury and is out indefinitely. That’s funny; after the Game 2 loss, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Rondo’s almost not playing at all in the second half was “coach’s decision.” No mention of a back then.

Forget what Rondo did to his head coach, whom he hates, his team’s owner or even his own value as a free agent. Those points are moot compared to what he did to his teammates. Rondo violated the trust and needs of guys such as Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and the rest, which is why he must never play again for the Mavs. His teammates needed him, and he did not care. They will never trust him again.

According to a report by veteran NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Rondo has no interest in coming back to the Mavs as a free agent if Rick Carlisle is the head coach. Dude, who do you think you are? We are not talking about Quinn Buckner or Jim Cleamons here. Carlisle is one of three coaches in a players league whom the owner will side with over the talent.

There is a reason why the Boston Celtics gave away a starting All-Star point guard who won an NBA title for virtually nothing in return. Without veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in his ear, and player’s coach Doc Rivers playing along, Rondo is a waste and not worth it.

As much I as gave the trade to bring Rondo to the Mavs a giant thumbs up, and would do it again, it is a gigantic failure with a capital F. His game may never have been an ideal fit for this team, but Rondo’s effort is a disgrace to the guys who actually try. Even Lam Lam and Erick Dampier brought it more than RR.

Let this sink in: A starting NBA point guard with All-Star credentials checked out of an NBA playoff series to start Game 2. And he can be a free agent, too. And allegedly when the playoffs started, we were going to see a different Rondo. We did. He was worse.

He played 10 minutes, scored four points, had four fouls, and committed an eight-second violation early in the game against no pressure. He committed two fouls 11 seconds into the start of the second half, and was replaced by J.J. Barea 23 seconds later.

This town has seen plenty of stupid before. This town has seen plenty of quitting before. Seldom has FW/d seen both stupid and quitting come in the same package by the same guy at the worst time possible.

This team is done, and Dirk Nowtizki’s final days will be painful. He deserved better.

Had Mark Cuban not been so consumed with proving how smart he is he would have recognized that his meal ticket’s best days were numbered three years ago. When you have one of the best players in the history of basketball on your team, you go for it and worry about the finances later. Cuban could own the Mavs another 40 years and never have another Dirk.

Watching Dirk in Game 2 was painful. He can’t guard, and if he can’t score he is a total liability. He’s 37, and his legs are starting to go. Once the legs are gone, that beautiful shot will be gone too. He will be able to bring it every now and again, but the descent has begun.

Some of the Game 2 fourth-quarter collapse is on Dirk beyond his shot, but his teammates were inept late. Eight dunks in the fourth quarter on 12-of-19 shooting by the Rockets should have resulted in a bruise, broken nose, scrape and a couple of technical fouls. Instead, the Mavs were judges in the NBA’s first All-Star Dunk Contest in a playoff game.

In homage to the great Randy Galloway, the Mavs were totally gutless. They made Josh Smith look like Kobe and Dwight Howard look like Shaq.

By that point, Rondo was fast asleep on the bench dreaming of free agent riches and getting out of town.

If the Mavs were smart, Rondo will be outta town before Game 3.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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