Ray Allen: Game 7 ‘just another opportunity to go out and be who we are’
|05.25.12 at 6:08 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Ever since the Celtics lost Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals in Los Angeles, Ray Allen has been asked, in one way or another, about the last game he might play in Celtic green.
Saturday night at TD Garden is another one of those possible scenarios so naturally, he was asked whether he’s given any thought to what could be his final game with the Celtics as part of the “Big Three.”
“Not really, not all,” Allen said before Friday’s practice. “I think I’ve in that situation many times before where that question has been posed to me so many times. We’ve been so fortunate to do what we’ve done here. It seems like we’ve been ruled out so many times before, so many years before. This is just another opportunity to go out and be who we are. We’re not worried about what’s beyond today. We’re more worried about what we have present day.”
Speaking of present day, Paul Pierce was asked point blank Friday whether the team’s tattered physical condition would take away from any joy over winning Game 7 since the rested and healthy Miami Heat wait in the wings Monday in the opener of the Eastern finals. Said another way, are the Celtics anything more than just a sacrificial lamb for the Heat if they prevail over Philadelphia?
“The focus is just one game right now,” Pierce said. “One-game series. Win or go home. You can’t look beyond that.”
But the bigger picture?
“I don’t think you should overlook it,” Pierce insisted. “Obviously, the goal is to win the championship. You have tto stake it step by step. It’s just about one game.”
And the way Allen sees it, that one game against the Sixers is a game of opportunity.
“We’re home,” Allen said. “We have an opportunity to play another game. We have an opportunity to be better. That’s all excitement on my part.”
We’ve read WEEI.com’s seven keys for Game 7 from Paul Flannery. What in Allen’s estimation is the key?
“The biggest factor? Seven games in, you’ve got to make sure you minimize your mistakes,” Allen said. “You can’t get beat by game plan mistakes, turnovers, all those small little things where you give away a point here, two points there, illegal defense. You win by three or four points, or even one, you look at all the smaller things you did earlier in the game that caused that outcome.”
And he won’t use his sore ankles as an excuse.
“I have two legs,” Allen said. “I never feel like I’m down or out. There’s always an opportunity. Sometimes, you have to do whatever you can to help your team win. And it’s the small things. Here, we’re not talking about big situations. We’re talking about the small things to help your team win.”