Celtics guard Rajon Rondo left TD Banknorth Garden yesterday after the Celtics' 99-65 win with no hard feelings toward the Hawks' Marvin Williams.
Rondo was on the floor in pain for about a minute after sustaining a hard foul from Williams on a shot attempt with 9:09 left in the third quarter.
Williams was given a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game, in what was a physical series.
"Hard fouls are part of the game, especially with the amount of intensity in Game 7," said Rondo, who had 10 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds in 30 minutes, in a text message. "Marvin and I talked postgame. He's a nice guy and we're cool."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he didn't think Williams was a dirty player, but he did believe the foul merited an ejection.
Williams said he had no bad intentions on the play.
"I had no intention of hurting Rondo," he said. "When I looked at it on TV when I came here [in the locker room], it definitely didn't look good. I can't argue that. But I would never try to hurt anybody. I think Rondo knows that. I'm a good friend of Rondo and I think he knows I would never try to hurt him.
"I was just trying to [make] a hard foul and make him earn it at the free-throw line. I personally didn't think it would be a Flagrant 2. It's been a physical series between us and the Celtics all series."
The most memorable physical incident of the series was during a Game 4 skirmish in Atlanta when Boston forward Kevin Garnett elbowed Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia and the Hawks' backup center retaliated with a head butt. Garnett got the last laugh in the third quarter yesterday, laying out Pachulia on a pick that had the fans roaring in approval.
"You have to play hard and smart," said Ray Allen of the physical play. "There are times when your emotions get the best of you, but at the same time you have to be aggressive."
Rivers advancesRivers has coached in the postseason three times with Orlando and twice with Boston. He hadn't advanced past the first round until knocking off the Hawks yesterday.
"Finally, I guess if you coach long enough you can get lucky and move on," Rivers said. "So, that's what I'm doing. I didn't do anything, to be honest. We have Kevin and Ray and Paul [Pierce] and all our guys. I'm just riding with them."
Rivers's mother, Bettye, attended her first Celtics home game yesterday since her husband, Grady, passed away Nov. 4 in Chicago. She sat a couple of rows behind the Celtics' bench with her granddaughter, Callie.
"It was real nice for her to be there," said Rivers about his mother.
Playoff payoff?Rivers says there was some good that came out of the lengthy series against the Hawks. Boston has seven new players on its roster from last season, which means most of them had not played in the postseason together. "This was good for us. The pressure of this will probably pay off later," the coach said . . . The Cavaliers have two former Celtics in Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. "It's always interesting. It's always fun, but at the same time it's business," said Kendrick Perkins of playing against former teammates. "You're going to have teammates and [then] they're going to be your enemy the next time. If I see [West], I'm going to holler at him. That's my man, but right now we're at war." . . . The Celtics set a franchise playoff record for fewest points allowed in the first half with 26.
Marc J. Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org