"I told the guys that was the rotation that we'll use, that's pretty much our playoff rotation, and, minute-wise, the only concern there was conditioning, and I don't know if that played a factor in it or not."
Notably absent was Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson, who never shed their warm-ups Sunday. To their credit, both players were active in supporting their teammates throughout the game, but Boston utilized a five-man bench of Allen, Glen Davis, Shelden Williams, Rasheed Wallace, and Michael Finley. Williams logged a little more than two minutes as the Celtics let Wallace cool off on the pine after a second-half technical foul, but it appears his role will be limited to situations of foul trouble with the bigs.
Allen logged 18:43 and, in a very short time, has made himself the sixth man that neither Daniels or Robinson could cement themselves as recently.
If you had told me at the beginning of the season that TA would beat out Marquis, I never would have believed you. If you had told me a month ago that TA would be Rondo's backup instead of Nate, I would have had a good laugh at your expense.
This is Tony Allen right? The same Tony Allen that played himself out of the rotation heading into each of the last two playoffs? The guy that Danny Ainge tried to give away for nothing this offseason (to which the Pacers ...the PACERS... said, "no thanks")?
Yet there he is. He's an energizer bunny. He defends (it helps that he knows the system down pat). He attacks the basket. He even handles the ball. Basically, he's doing everything Marquis was brought here to do. He's even having fewer and fewer "Bad Tony" moments. What more can you ask for?
"[Allen] just plays hard," said Rivers. "He's our best defensive player. He's just bought in completely to the team and the way the team plays. He's no longer trying to score; scoring just happens. He's trying to be the best defensive player on our team, and I think he's figured out --‘That's how I'm going to play.' He gives our team energy. He really does."
Credit his health as well. He's been largely without injury for the last several months and perhaps that has led to his increased confidence.
With that said, if Daniels and Robinson are both out of the rotation, that doesn't speak well to those personnel moves. Daniels was supposed to be our swiss army knife but instead he's been cut from the rotation (couldn't resist, sorry). Nate cost us Eddie House and two young (if unproven) players. If they don't play, what good are they?
"Their role is to work every day in practice but there will be a day or a time you're gonna need them," Rivers said. "Somebody will get in foul trouble or someone may not be playing well. Yeah right now they are (out of the rotation). But that doesn't mean they won't be back in it."
So all this could change in a week or so (after all, Tony played a total of zero minutes against the Thunder just a few games ago), but for now, Tony is the salmon and mashed potatoes of our bench. Who woulda thunk it?