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Tony Allen: One Crazy Season

Remember way back when Tony Allen was arrested and subsequently charged with aggravated battery. The tremendous Sports Law Blog was all over it at the time. I bring this up for four reasons:

  1. I enjoy the Sports Law Blog.
  2. I had to find some way to start this post, which is the first of a 3 part series on Tony Allen.  
  3. In my Celtics/Bulls Preview I expressed my admiration for JamesOn Curry and DeShawn Stevenson's first names. Well neither of them can hold a candle to MarkTwain Johnson. We all need to be clear on that.
  4. You can't do a post on Tony Allen's 2006/2007 season without mentioning the charges stemming from his infamous White Palace Grill incident. Seriously, it hung over him for 19 months.
October 2006 - By all accounts Allen had a pretty quiet preseason. Most of the buzz surrounded Paul Pierce's superior conditioning, how exciting Rajon Rondo looked even with his awful shooting form and the myriad of injury concerns that surrounded the team. To his credit Allen did shoot 73% from the free throw line (37 of 51). That's a respectable rate for an eight game stretch. But yeah not much else outside of the team picking up an option on his contract.

Novemmber 2006 - This was a difficult month for Allen. On opening night he saw 18 minutes of action and put up the following less than impressive stat line: 3 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 3 fouls, 1 steal, and 0 blocked shots. Over the next 5 games Allen's minutes fluctuated between 10 and 20 and his production was modest at best. For the record Allen was struggling to find a role on a team sporting a 1-5 record. Over the final 8 games of the month he notched one DNP, somehow played less than five minutes in a shootout against the Knicks and failed to reach double digits scoring in any game. Although the low point had to be November 10th when Tommy Heinsohn declared that after his third dribble Alllen should pass or shoot to prevent something bad from happening. Celtics fans, including myself, complained about the amount of time he was playing and demanded that Gerald Green get Allen's minutes.

December 2006

December 1st - The Celtics traveled to Toronto and the new calendar month seemed to give Allen a fresh start. Even though his final stats were not overly impressive (7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 fouls, 1 steal, 0 turnovers and 0 blocks) it was the most under control he played all year. At the time I was mildly impressed. More importantly the game made it painfully clear that Wally Szczerbiak's ankles were not right and the former Timberwolve would have to miss some games.

December 4th - Allen returned to Chicago, the city that doubled as his hometown and the site of his aforementioned legal problems, to lead all Celtics scorers with 20 points. However, the Bulls manhandled Boston and I was not caught up in any Tony Allen inspired optimism. In fact at the time I wrote the following:

"Did Tony Allen earn 28 minutes of playing time because of Wally Szczerbiak's injury, his decent showing against Toronto, his Chicago roots or a combination of all three? Whatever the reason I don't think they should be running the Tony Allen And1 offense on a consistent basis. And believe me his final stat line (20 points on 5-8 from the field, 10-13 from the line, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and one turnover) was not as good as it appears. He had two of the ugliest shots I have ever seen. On top of that he does mind numbing things at times that the box score does not capture. Although he gets bonus points for throwing it down, kicking a Bull in the process and somehow getting to line. Finally was Allen's performance against the Raptors last Friday more impressive than Gerald Green's showing?"

I should point out that though my calls for Gerald Green over Allen were not as blatant as Tommy Heinsohn's preference for Rajon Rondo over Sebastian Telfair, Heinsohn was dead on and I was way off base.

December 6th - Allen earned his first start of the season in a two point loss to the freaking Grizzlies. In 19 minutes of time he had as many turnovers and fouls (3) as he had points, blocks, steals, assists and blocked shots (3). Once again I was calling for his immediate banishment to the bench.

December 8th - Two nights later the Celtics lost again (remember that was a recurring theme last season), this time to the Suns. In his second consecutive start Allen actually put up some numbers. He had 18 points, 7 boards, 3 assists and 5 steals in 25 minutes of play. Not bad.

December 9th-13th - The Celtics kicked off a 5 game win streak with victories over the Nets, Knicks and 76ers. Allen started each game and contributed to a degree.

December 15th - Doc Rivers and company said, "F?#% it let's play Tony all 48 mintues" and watched the former Oklahoma State star throw up 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and one block. And Allen's shooting was lights out. 11-13 from the field, 2-2 from beyond the arc and 6-6 from the line. This is also known as the Salmon and Mashed Potatoes Game:

December 16 - The Celtics finished off their 5 game winning streak. Little did we know at the time that it was all downhill from there on out.

December 20 - I actually attended this game as the C's hosted the Warriors. Allen scored 17 points and grabbed 7 boards but also had 5 turnovers. More importantly Paul Pierce strangely held the ball at the end of the game, clinching the loss in the process. Shortly thereafter we learned The Truth was hurt. I did not take it well..

December 22, 2006-January 10, 2007

With Pierce out of the lineup the Celtics lost 8 of their next 10 games. Allen led them in scoring during 7 of those contests. His frantic style of play was never more evident than a road loss to the Magic where Allen scored 21 points, grabbed 9 boards, dished out three assists, blocked a shot, recorded 7 steals and committed 6 turnovers. His behavior on the court could best be compared to a child who stays up two hours later than usual all hopped up on sugar and runs around wreaking havoc until he either passes out or gets put to bed. That was Allen. Although in his case it ended when time ran out on another Celtics loss.

January 10th - As the Celtics worked on their second of what would eventually become 18 straight losses, Allen scored 19 points and recorded 5 steals before catastrophe struck:

This led to following epic exchange:

"Dire straits. Dire straits. You know where dire straits is?" - Tommy Heinsohn

"Africa?" - Mike Gorman when he finally got a word in.

"Just south of frustration." - Tommy Heinsohn

The only positive to come out of the incident was Allen's response to his mother when she complained about Brian Scalabrine driving them to the hospital. "This this is better than an ambulance. This is Scal!" - Tony Allen

January 13, 2007 - Allen had knee surgery.

April 24, 2007 - Allen was acquitted of all charges from the White Palace incident. Huge.

Check back in at some point over the next few days for the conclusion of this look at Tony Allen:

Part 2 - The Road Back
Part 3 - Tony Allen versus the Bulls

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