Rajon Rondo decisively won the point guard battle Friday night, his 14 points and 6 assists besting Jameer Nelson’s 11 points, 4 assists, and 5 turnovers. After being outplayed in Games 4 and 5, Rondo’s defense on Nelson prevented Nelson from effectively running Orlando’s offense.
“Jameer didn’t have a real good night tonight,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “And I’m not saying that critical of him, because obviously he carried us for a big part of this series and was fabulous. Tonight he just didn’t have a very good game. He had more turnovers. He just, he struggled tonight. The foul trouble was only part of it. He just had a real tough night at an inopportune time.”
Rondo took a hard hit at the end of the first quarter and gave way to Nate Robinson in the second, paving the way for Robinson’s playoff-high 13 points off the bench.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he decided on using Robinson after playing him in Game 5.
“It happened last game, not this game,” said Rivers. “He gave me the confidence when he came into Game 5, even though we played awful, that he had bought into our defensive system, and that he was able to run a couple set that’s we thought would be effective against them.”
Rivers and Robinson had a little moment after the game, embracing on the court.
“I told him I loved him,” said Rivers. “And I told him at some point it was going to happen for him. And it was all up to him to stay engaged. And he did: I get no credit out of this. Nate Robinson stayed focused in 30 straight whatever games without playing, and stayed focused. And to me that, to me is more important than anything he’s done tonight.”