He's seen his shots per game decrease by almost six shots since February (14.4 to 8.7) and he didn't even take one in the first quarter of last night's 87-85 win over the Knicks. But for Ray Allen, none of that matters.
When it's his turn, he'll be ready - and ready he was in the fourth quarter. Allen scored 11 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, none bigger than the three-pointer he hit with 11.6 seconds left.
It has to make you wonder why they can't figure out a way to get him the ball more. He's only shooting career highs in field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage this season. Ho-hum.
Allen could hang his head and pout about the lack of shot attempts, but instead he just continues to play his game, take what's given, and look for the best option.
"I wasn't worried about it (not getting shots early)," Allen said. "Offensively we got so many great weapons out there on the floor. Here in the playoffs I knew what my matchup was and defensively I knew what I had to do to help keep Carmelo (Anthony) from having big nights and (Amar'e) Stoudemire. Offensively when we got stops early I got a couple of layups, a couple of shots at the hoop. For the most part I wasn't worried about shooting the ball. Once we settled in and played the type of basketball that we are capable of playing, I knew I'd find our comfort zones.
"You guys have been asking me for a couple of weeks about me shooting the ball and I said ‘rhythm'. Its all about rhythm, take your time and even if I have a shot, Paul is out there, Kevin is out there, there are plays to be made. I try not to focus on that. Offensively we are our own worst enemies if we don't move the ball around. I'm not going to fall into that hole thinking that I got to shoot that ball. This team we've got a lot of great scorers."
Allen is saying all the right things, and a lot of it is true - nobody is asking him to force shots to hit a certain quota of attempts, and thankfully Allen is not that type of a player. But the need to get Allen more shots is apparent, it just is. The bottom line is that he's one of the best shooters to ever suit up, and it would be a shame for the Celtics to not utilize that talent more.
Every time Glen Davis takes a jumper, that's one less jumper that Allen could be taking. I don't know about you all, but I like the latter's odds just a tad bit better.
Better Late than Never
How bad was that second quarter? Really, that was painful to watch on both ends of the court. Defensively, the Knicks were getting whatever they wanted. It looked as though every shot they took was a wide open one. No wonder they shot 11-17 and dropped 28 points on the Celtics.
And when the Celtics were on offense, things started to get stagnant and sloppy. How does six turnovers sound? Two three-second calls, a travel, a bad pass, and a lost ball summed up the sloppiness, which amounted to a 6-18 quarter for just 15 points. The Celtics went into the half down 51-39, but it honestly could have been worse.
Then the second half happened. So often this season the Celtics have come out different in the second half, and most of the time Doc Rivers has done nothing different. It's simply just the players becoming more focused. They did it again last night, holding the Knicks to a measly 20-percent from the field (5-20) including seven bricks by Anthony.
That, obviously, led to the transition game and allowed shooters to free up, which in turn sparked Allen's hotness.
"Listen, they were shooting 54% in the first half; they end up shooting 42 (percent) for the game," Rivers said of the Knicks' shooting. "I just thought defensively we joined the playoffs in the second half. Really disappointed in the first half; we were giving them everything - comfort shots, you know, breaking our defensive rules. And in the second half we just upped our intensity and start following what we do every night and it created problems. And that allowed us to run. That allowed us to set picks. That allowed us to get in our offense at 18 instead of at 10 seconds."
Not the Bruins!
There are two professional sports teams who call the TD Garden home. Both were 3 seeds in their respective sports, which meant their first two games of the series would be at home. One of those teams, the Bruins, failed miserably in taking advantage of being home. They dropped both home games, and now have to travel to Montreal where they haven't won all season.
The Celtics don't have to worry about being down 0-2 in the series. They took care of business in Game 1, and did something the B's couldn't do - set the tone.
"You want to set a tone, especially at home in Game 1," Paul Pierce said. "You don't want to give any team confidence in your building. It is very important just to get off, protect your home court in the first game, and also the second game. It's going to be a ruckus crowd when we get to New York, a building they are really comfortable in. Even when we don't play our best basketball we found a way. We've just got to continue to get better, we can't rest on this victory because on no means was this our best basketball."
A lot of higher NBA seeds have lost their first games, including the Lakers, Spurs, and Magic. The Celtics knew the Knicks would come in with confidence, even though they've yet to beat the C's this season. By no means did the C's play great basketball last night, but they did just enough to win in the closing seconds. Chicago stole one from Indiana much like the C's did against the Knicks. Wins like that can really take the wind out of the loser's sails.