RAJON Rondo employed the virtual backing of former Boston teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as he lashed at Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, who criticized their Chicago Bulls teammates after squandering a big lead and bowing to the Atlanta Hawks.
A champion with the Celtics in 2008, Rondo posted a photo of his former Boston teammates as he fired back at the Bulls vets who complained about their teammates' desire to win to the media after the Hawks loss.
"My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. ... My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership," Rondo wrote on Instagram.
Wade and Butler, who scored a combined 73 points in the loss, questioned their team’s commitment after Chicago lost a 10-points lead and the game against Atlanta.
"I don't know what happened," Wade said. "But we continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this. Everyone don't care enough. You got to care enough man. It's got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn't,” said Wade who admitted he was “pissed off” with the situation.
Butler also carried the same tune in his post-game rant, a sign that he and Wade were in some sort of agreement to light a fire under the team.
"Mother f------ just got to care if we win or lose," said Butler. "At the end of the day, do whatever it takes to help the team win. You play your role to the tee. Be a star in your role, man. That's how you win in this league, man. You have to embrace what this team, what this organization needs for you to do on either end of the floor. On top of everything else, just play every possession like it's your last. We don't play hard all the time. It's very disappointing whenever we don't play hard.''
The feisty Rondo instead responded that a team's veterans led by example, not by what they say, and kept their frustrations with teammates inside the locker room.
"My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost they didn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym," Rondo wrote.
The Bulls now have a 23-24 record after last Wednesday's loss and will host Wade's former team, the Miami Heat, this Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can't win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.