Ray Allen: All-Star
|02.05.09 at 9:04 pm ET|
Ray Allen was driving to work when he got the news that he would be an All-Star for the ninth time in his NBA career. By the time he got to the Garden for Thursday night’s game with the Lakers, he had already received a text message from Kevin Garnett and then congratulations from Paul Pierce. Whatever happens to any of the Celtics great players happens to all of them, which is exactly how the coach wants it.
“I like having those three guys together,” Doc Rivers said. “To me, that’s important.”
For the second year in a row Allen was named as an injury replacement. This time he will be replacing Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson who is out with a torn labrum. The who, what and why mattered little to Allen who has been around the block enough times to know that no one remembers these things in the long run.
After all, Allen poured in 28 points in last year’s game as an injury replacement. “There’s one thing that has changed,” Allen joked. “Doc is not the coach (of the All-Star team). I might be sitting on the bench.”
Cleveland’s Mike Brown has the honor this year (coaches can’t work the game in consecutive years). “That’s true,” Rivers said. “I’m going to tell (Brown) to bench all three of our guys. That would be great.”
In all seriousness, it was easy to see that Allen was very happy with the news.
“Elated. Ecstatic,” was his reaction to the news. “Nine times for me. I think about where I’ve come from and all the things I’ve wanted to do in my career. It’s a team game, but to be recognized as one of the best it’s always an honor. I’ve always considered my time in this league to be a privilege. And to represent this franchise is also an honor.”
Someone asked about LeBron James’ comments that it wasn’t fair that the Celtics and Magic had two representatives (now three) while the Cavs had only him. The obvious omission for LeBron was guard Mo Williams.
“I don’t think this is about fairness,” Allen said. “It’s such an unbalanced equation when you’re talking about the All-Star game. If it was Mo Williams I’d be happy for him. He’s having an All-Star year.”
If you want to talk fairness, it’s hard to argue against Allen’s inclusion, whose shooting percentages (497 FG, 410 3-point, 94 FT) are among the best in the league. Statistically he has been the Celtics best offensive player this season (both new age and old school).
“He’s the most efficient two-guard in the league right now,” Rivers said. “He takes less shots, but he makes them.”
To which Allen echoed, “The game is played in so many different ways. Whatever I do well, I just do it and try to be consistent. No matter how many shots I get up; just be efficient.”
In the weeks leading up to the selections, Allen stayed cool. He talked about taking his family on vacation and promised that he was not at all worried about it. But you could tell it meant a lot to him. “We’ll talk about this for the rest of our lives,” he said meaning himself, Pierce and Garnett. “This is all we have. The experiences, the memories and the time spent together.”