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Sports

May 28, 2010

Point-counterpoint: Nelson getting the better of Rondo

Early on in the series, it appeared Boston had exposed Jameer Nelson as another pseudo All-Star.

Just like the Celtics had done to Miami's Michael Beasley, Cleveland's Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison and Nelson's Orlando teammate Rashard Lewis.

But in the last two games, Nelson has not only played like an All-Star, but like the series MVP.

If he continues, Orlando will probably beat Boston today at TD Garden (8:30 p.m., ESPN).

Then who'd dare predict a Celtic victory in Game 7 in Orlando on the heels of an historic three-game collapse?

None other than the great Magic Johnson had hailed Boston's Rajon Rondo as the NBA's premier point guard. Rondo had been unstoppable, easily surpassing the play of Boston's Big 3.

But now the Sports Illustrated cover boy is meeting his match.

And then some.

The powerful 6-foot, 200-pound Nelson has torched Rondo and the C's with his long-range shooting and some rarely displayed point guard skills.

Nelson, who was National College Player of the Year when he was teamed with Delonte West in the St. Joseph's backcourt, has been hitting skywalking bully Dwight Howard for monster dunks and running the pick and roll to perfection.

Boston hangs its hat on its defense but it has looked like a JV team as Nelson and the Magic have routinely carved the C's up with the pick and roll.

"We're playing more of our game now, getting out in transition and just attacking and staying on the attack and trying to do it for 48 minutes," the 28-year-old Nelson said after the Game 5 win, which sent Celtic Nation into a full-fledged panic.

Nelson realizes his club is on the doorstep of history. They'd be the first NBA team ever to come back from an 0-3 series deficit.

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