Sunday's game between the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics was the first time the teams had played each other since they faced off on Nov. 8 and Nov. 11.
So Celtics coach Brad Stevens was in a good position to evaluate the growth of the Magic's rookie guard, Victor Oladipo.
"Oladipo's going to be really good," Stevens said. "I thought that the last time we played them. He's obviously got a better feel for everything that they're doing for him and everything that he can do within their offense. And they're playing off of a lot more high pick-and-rolls than they did the first two times we played them, which makes a lot of sense, with [Jameer] Nelson and Oladipo getting more comfortable."
Stevens is an NBA rookie of sorts himself after he spent the last six seasons as Butler University's head coach. Stevens' Bulldogs played against Oladipo's Indiana Hoosiers once during the 2011-12 season and once during the 2012-13 season.
Stevens was impressed by Oladipo back then, too.
"When you talk about guys in the draft, specifically, there are guys that clearly are sure things," Stevens said. "To me, he was a sure thing because you knew he was going to give it everything he has. His work ethic is off the charts, and he's got an extra gear that a lot of guys don't have."
In his second game back following reconstructive surgery on his right knee, Celtics point guard and franchise cornerstone Rajon Rondo continued to operate under a minutes restriction, playing 21 minutes against the Magic.
He scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and distributed four assists.
Stevens said Rondo's minutes restriction likely will remain in place "at least for the first week, maybe more," depending on what the team's medical staff says.
Stevens said he's inclined to play Rondo five minutes in each of a game's first three quarters, but he added, "I do think it's important that he's playing at the end [of a game], like he did the other night, because that's part of getting back into the groove of things."
Rondo said he felt good before Sunday's game against the Magic and that he agreed with the minutes restriction and that he'll remain patient with himself as he works himself back into a rhythm.
"It's not frustrating," Rondo said. "It's just a matter of time. I'm very patient with myself. I haven't had a preseason or training camp or even any other games to play. So I try not to get too down on myself, but at the same time, I'm very competitive and I expect the best out of myself already."
Nina Davuluri, the current Miss America, attended the game in conjunction with the Magic's theme night, India Day. Davuluri is the first person of Indian descent to win the pageant.
The Celtics' Jerryd Bayless sprained his right big toe in the third quarter and didn't return to the game.
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