With 22.8 second remaining in the game the San Antonio Spurs had the ball, trailing by 5. They went with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Ime Udoka, Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire. The Celtics countered with Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Glen Davis, James Posey and for defensive purposes, Tony Allen. Now as you may recall the Celtics faced a somewhat similar situation on December 19th against the Pistons. I don't like to revisit that game because it was a tough loss, particularly the way it ended. Scroll ahead to the 2:17 mark if you don't remember Tony Allen's game ending foul.
Fast forward to today where Udoka inbounded the ball to Duncan and immediately ran towards Ginobili (guarded by Allen) to set a pick. Allen was able to avoid the screen and ran with Ginobili as the Argentinian took a hand off from Duncan beyond the 3 point line. At that point Ginobili jumped in the air, fired a shot and flailed like crazy in the hopes of creating contact and getting to the line. Allen smoothly backed away, made the refs swallow their whistles and watched as Rondo snagged a huge rebound. I'll take that loss to the Pistons in December for the lesson Allen learned and then applied in a victory in February. One final thought. Since that game in December how much better have Rondo and Allen gotten? That's the great thing. They can continue to grow and improve as players. Good stuff.