Tony Allen is an easy target on this blog. He's known for his maddeningly low basketball IQ and frequent boneheaded plays. But he's on this basketball team and in the NBA for a reason. He's athletic, aggressive (which is important: see Gerald Green), and he gets after it on defense. When the stars align and he is focused on what he needs to do to help the team win, good things can happen like they did last night.
Allen connected on 4 of 5 shots for eight points, with three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. Most impressively, he finished with a game-high plus-14 in the plus/minus category, showing how much he contributed at both ends of the floor in a dominant second quarter for the Green.
"[Allen] was big for us," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "He came in and gave us some very productive minutes. He was able to play defense for us and he came back in the nick of time with Marquis being out so he was able to fill the void. We are able to put him on different guys, defensively, and what people don’t know is that he can get to the basket and score the ball, too."
"Tony was terrific," said Rivers. "That's what our bench has to do at times, help stretch out that lead."
There were some head scratching moments last night (like the double dribble for instance) but they were few and far between and were far outweighed by the positives he brought to the floor.
I was particularly impressed with his rebounding and going after loose balls. That kind of "get after it" mentality might be what has been missing from the team lately. Not that he alone is going to solve our rebounding woes, but sometimes it just takes the effort of one man to remind everyone else how to get after the ball with the same burst that you would use on a dribble drive. Sure, boxing out is great, but sometimes a guy that is boxed out can simply will himself around the screen and snatch the ball faster than his opponent. Our guys need to do more of that and Tony was that kind of guy last night.
Here's hoping for more of the same. He's got his ninth life now and he used it to help us to our ninth win. We'll see how much more of the Good Tony we see in the coming weeks, which would make Doc's job a whole lot easier with Daniels out.