|Ray Allen: ‘Let the good times roll’ for Celtics||05.11.12 at 5:15 pm ET|
Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen has seen his share of ups and downs on a basketball court, and we’re not talking about the 500 jump shots that make up his daily routine.
- Over the course of his career, he’s played for a SuperSonics team that won 31 games and finished last in its division, and he’s won an NBA championship ring on a Celtics team that won a league-best 66 games.
- Over the course of this season, he’s shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range over a 28-game stretch before the All-Star break, and he’s missed 15 games down the stretch with a lingering ankle injury.
- And over the course of these playoffs, he’s missed two more games with those bone spurs, and he’s averaged 13.3 points on 51.6 percent shooting over a three-game stretch.
Now what, especially after shooting just 1-of-7 from the field and (gasp!) 4-of-6 from the free throw line in Game 6, all while his ankle flared up to the same discomfort levels that kept him out of Games 1 and 2?
“I never rule myself out,” said Allen in the aftermath of Thursday’s 83-80 victory. “I think it’s a day-to-day situation. It’s still a little suspect, but I’m still working on it. I’m still working on it. Every day is a new day, and I always love the challenge.”
After the series-clinching win over the Hawks, Allen said the ankle was “bothering me, but I have the day [Friday] to deal with it.” Nothing changed at practice on the eve of the Eastern Conference semifinals. So goes life for the 18-year NBA veteran who entered the season in better shape than most rookies but will enter the summer unsure of his future. (He’s in the final season of a two-year, $20 million deal.)
“There’s really no tomorrow for anything,” said Allen, who turns 37 on July 20 (’75, look it up, as Kevin Garnett might say), “so you’ve gotta have urgency and desperation.”
Precisely why Allen appreciates that the Celtics have now won at least one playoff series in five straight seasons.
“It always feels good,” he said. “There’s a sense of conclusion, and there’s a sense of everybody accomplishing something, because I think some of the guys on this roster haven’t won a playoff series, so to be able to enjoy that with them — even though we haven’t won anything and there’s no trophy or anything for it — there is a sense of accomplishment. We continue to move on, get this feeling past us and start preparing for Philly.”
And precisely why Allen recognizes that the Celtics aren’t guaranteed a sixth consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference semifinals next season, with or without him on the roster. The last chance for Allen, Garnett and Paul Pierce to write another meaningful chapter in their Hall of Fame bios will likely unfold over the next month, beginning Saturday night in Boston against the 76ers. As Pierce said, “This is it.”
“They’re a tough team,” Allen said of the Sixers. “They posed a lot of problems for us throughout the regular season, so we’ll have our hands full. I think this series prepared us for that. It doesn’t get any easier. If it was easy this round, then we’d be in for a long haul going into the second round, which we still will be, but we’re at least better prepared because of what we’ve gone through in this first round.”
Or what he’s gone through in the NBA for more than half his life. Allen’s last opportunity to pen the conclusion to his Celtics career could come at any moment. The ankle is what it is, littered with painful bone spurs that will likely require surgery at season’s end, and could sideline him tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.
“The tough times made us appreciate more the good times,” said Allen, “so we just let the good times roll.”
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