NEW YORK — Rajon Rondo got the starting nod Sunday in Team USA’s 86-55 victory over France at Madison Square Garden, and with the team likely carrying four point guards on its 12-man roster, Rondo will team with another point guard in the backcourt.
Against the French, it was Chauncey Billups, the All-Star point guard for the Denver Nuggets, who played shooting guard and scored 17 points in 15 minutes. Billups said he is comfortable playing the combo guard, giving Rondo an opportunity to play his natural position as a distributor.
Rondo finished with 6 points, 6 assists, 3 turnovers and 2 rebounds in just under 19 minutes and appears to getting more comfortable with the international game. As the game progressed, Rondo was able to take a tiring French team off the dribble for layups and dish offs.
Billups says the chemistry between he and Rondo is forming quickly.
“I can play off the ball without a problem and I have done it before,” he said. “We’re a small team and we’re going to have to play two point guards on the floor pretty much, and hopefully we can be successful. But that’s the advantage. We have two playmakers, two guys who can break the defense down, get in there and create some havoc.”
Rondo said the experience of playing against Billups has been enjoyable.
“There’s a lot of communication between us,” Rondo said. “We almost talk about the game every day. He’s handled a lot of adversity, overcome a lot of obstacles in his career, and he’s been at the top each year as far as point guards. He’s a great leader as well.”