Ray Allen’s clutch performance on Sunday night was a thing of beauty – to fans and teammates alike.
‘A huge weapon,” Garnett said. “You know him and P [Paul Pierce ] can put up a lot of points in a hurry. That’s big. We have to get them open. You know our job is to get them open. I thought that once he got into a nice, little rhythm, I think that everyone else, you know fed off of that a little bit. When it was time to really get him opened for the three, we got him open, and he hit a big shot.’
Garnett has seen Allen suddenly get hot after the All-Star break, carrying the Celtics offense while Pierce nursed a sore thumb.
‘I can just say that each player has their time where they play up and down,” Garnett said. “That is the nature of the season. You know, you guys don’t know but he deals with a lot of different things with injuries, you know we all deal with different types of physical stuff. He is no different than that. At the same time he had talks of business, about where he was going to be in his future and stuff. I can just tell that he is a lot more healthier. Everything that he is doing is a lot more fluid. He is not thinking a lot, he is just reacting and his beautiful basketball.’
Paul Pierce had a slightly different take.
While happy with the win, Pierce realizes the team should have had that intensity all along against a Washington team that has just 21 wins this season.
‘We should have played with that intensity all game,” Pierce said. “Once our defensive intensity picked up it changed the whole ball game from us getting up on guys, making them do things that they didn’t want to do. I thought for the most part our game we never cut where they wanted to cut, we gave them the shots that they wanted to shoot. It can’t be that way, but I was happy with the way that we dug in there because a lot of these game this year we let go, when we saw we have been down 10 minutes with three or four minutes left to go, we haven’t been able to pull those games out.
“Tonight we saw something that I like to see at this point in the season, coming down the stretch,” Pierce said. “We saw the Celtics that we are used to seeing.”
Pierce said it was Allen’s dunk during the 16-2 run in the fourth that energized everyone in the building.
“It was a lot of things that got us going. You the defense, Ray with the dunk, Rondo with the and one. We just fed off of everything that we did late. We knew we had to pitch a shut-out down the stretch, and that we played perfect. I thought we did offensively. I think our execution was there, we set the screens, we got every look that we wanted down the stretch, and made the extra effort on defense. It just got contagious. I just thought that we fed off the crowd.”