Denton: Magic vs. Celtics Analysis (2/2/14)

   

By John Denton
Feb. 2, 2014

BOSTON – With the Orlando Magic forced to play without injured point guard Jameer Nelson on Sunday, much of their fate in Boston rested on the marquee matchup between rookie Victor Oladipo and Celtics’ all-star Rajon Rondo.

Considering the dramatically different stages those two guards are in their careers, that wasn’t necessarily a fair fight.

The Magic hung tough in a rocky first half and made several hard charges at the Celtics in the second half, but they could never get over the hump against a Boston team delighted to have Rondo nearly all the way back from last season’s knee injury. After Orlando had gotten within two points with 2:30 to play, Rondo drilled a running hook and assisted on the next two buckets to help the Celtics pull away from Orlando in a 96-89 victory at TD Garden.

``I think we did a good job on defense, but they made shots and Rondo made some tough shots,’’ said Magic forward Maurice Harkless, who had nine points and seven rebounds off the bench. ``Rondo is real tough because when you go under the screen and he starts hitting jump shots. Then, you go over and that opens up everything else. He can pick apart a defense with the way he finds open guys and gets them easy shots.’’

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