Ray Allen: ‘I wasn’t holding anything back’
|05.05.12 at 1:40 am ET|
It’s really all anyone wanted to know from Ray Allen after Game 3 – how’s the ankle and do you think you’ll be ready for Game 4 Sunday night at the Garden?
“Now it’s achy,” Allen said after the game. “It feels like it’s just mad at me a little bit. So, I’ve been here before. It seems like I have all these safeguards in place. When I get home, I know exactly what I need to do. I have my contraptions to make sure I’m able to go to sleep well and get up in the morning and get my treatment. So, I’m in a good place.
“I think over the past couple of weeks, people have asked me, ‘Can you get in a game and play five minutes, just stand in a corner and make people think you’re going to shoot it.’ I knew once I got out there, I was going to be out there to run up and down and move whichever way I need to move. I wasn’t holding anything back, once I got into the offense.”
After playing 37 minutes in his first game back since April 10, Allen said he could tell he was in a tense NBA playoff game. But all things considered, after scoring 13 points in Boston’s 90-84 overtime win over Atlanta in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, Allen said he and his left ankle came out of it feeling as good as could be expected.
“Starting the game it was great,” Allen said. “I think going into half was when it started to tighten up on me and I started noticing a little more than I’ve noticed but similar to what I’ve been dealing with. Just sitting on the sideline, I just did what I could to make sure I kept it loose by stretching it. But once I went back in the game, there’s not really a moment to think about it. Your adrenaline is rushing, being in the building, my adrenaline is rushing.”
Doc Rivers had to pay particularly close attention. He was without Avery Bradley for most of the second half after losing him to a recurring left shoulder injury. And the minutes on Allen started to shoot through the roof, that and the Celtics were forced to go with a three-guard look because the Hawks were going small with their lineup that was missing three big men.
“I thought the legs were shot at the end,” Rivers said of Allen, who missed one of two free throws in overtime. “We started trying to use him for decoy. He was terrific. And like I told you before the game – someone asked me, ‘Would there be a minute restriction?’ I said, “No, because we don’t know when he’ll play again or not.’ You know? So I’m getting everything I can get out of him each game. I’m saying that jokingly, but somewhat true as well. Tonight honestly, we needed him. It’s amazing the difference when he’s on the floor in our spacing, and how much more difficult it is for guys to help.
“We’re giving them the day off tomorrow because they’re exhausted. And I don’t want Ray in the gym because he would do something; he would shoot, or something. So that’s unusual for us in the playoffs to take a day off, but they need one.”
Paul Pierce was more than impressed with Allen.
“Just having him out there really picked us up because we haven’t seen Ray in a jersey in so long,” Pierce said. “Just having him out there, you heard the reaction from the crowd when he checked into the game. Stuff like that brings so much energy to the ball club, to have a guy that’s so vital come out there and give us a big lift. It’s huge having him out there, especially tonight with Avery going down.”
Allen, who has received intense treatment and cortisone shots to manage the pain, admitted that as the game continued, he could feel the bone spurs give him discomfort.
“I didn’t think that I would be playing this sooner if I looked at how I felt last week,” Allen said. “I think at Kevin at some point asked me, he said, ‘Do you think you are going to make it back for the series?’ And I was like, “It’s not looking like it.” So the last three days have been pretty good with some of the things I’ve been doing, physically. In just the last two days, its been like night and day for me. Being able to get on the floor and move around and shoot. Being able to get into my routine, I’ve been so off routine for the past two months. It’s like me who I am. It’s been tough, you know you are almost from the outside looking in trying to be a part of the team and trying not to be in the way. Being back on the floor I felt alive. I felt like I was back in my own skin and it was a great feeling.”
“From day to day sometimes I haven’t known kind of how it was going to affect me so in the last 2 or 3 days its probably been the best its been and I’ve been doing some things to help ail the pain I’ve been feeling in my ankle and it’s been great. So from day to day I don’t know somedays. And trying to give you guys answers is sometimes hard to really explain or give answers so it’s been great and I’m happy to be able to say that. And tomorrow’s a new day but again I’m not going to it looking like or feeling like a victim, I’m coming out of the sand thinking its going to be good tomorrow and its going to be even better Sunday.”