Ray Allen: ‘I didn’t expect to get booed the whole time’
|01.27.13 at 11:52 pm ET|
All the mind games Ray Allen went through in an effort to get ready for returning to Boston couldn’t prepare him for what he experienced Sunday each and every time he touched the basketball.
‘I didn’t know what to expect,” Allen said. “The one thing I was gonna do is come into it and just focus on being prepared and getting the guys ready that were playing, that were starting the game. Early game is always tough regardless of the circumstances. I didn’t expect to get booed the whole time, throughout the game, that I touched the ball. That was interesting.’
The day was the definition of surreal for Allen. There was walking into the visitors’ locker room for the first time since he was with Seattle in 2007.
‘It was very weird. And then going to the other locker room. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on that side of the hallway, and again, it was an adjustment. The whole year’s been an adjustment being in Miami after being in Boston for so long, so ya, it was definitely a weird feeling for me.’
There was the video tribute in the first timeout, when he was still on the bench. There were the boos reining down mixed with a standing ovation. And then there was the news breaking during the game of his former backcourt teammate Rajon Rondo out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Ironic, considering how the two former teammates didn’t exactly end things on the best of terms in Boston.
He did appreciate the video tribute.
‘When you see something like that, you know when I saw it, just all those emotions came streaming back from all the great things we did here, and that’s why I say I’ll always remember the big games we played in and won, and I always know I’ll always be a Celtic in my mind, regardless of what anyone else says.”
As for the Rondo news, Allen was short and to the point.
‘I didn’t know until we got out onto the floor and he wasn’t out on the floor,” he said. “That was unfortunate.’
He was asked how difficult it will be for Celtics without Rondo.
“Well, any time you have a guy go down, it forces the team to circle their wagons, and in this instance, the team circled their wagons and they got the win, a much needed win,” Allen said. “It just puts the onus on the guys coming off the bench to do their jobs, step up and it’s interesting how you have to reprioritize everything you’re that doing in your life when you know your minutes are going to ramp up a little bit more, so it does. It shows what kind of team you have, it shows the resilience of the team and if your team’s worth anything, and ive been a part of that for many games, many years of my career and trusting in your guys to do their job, and that’s the great thing about teammates.’
Allen finished with 21 points in 38 minutes off the bench and hit a pair of late threes, including one from the left baseline with 25 seconds left in regulation that set the stage for a triple from LeBron James with seven seconds left that forced overtime.
‘Well, its interesting because I know exactly what they want to do, their go-to moves,” Allen said. “Like I could be thinking one thing, but nobody else is thinking what I’m thinking, but nobody else is thinking what I’m thinking so I gotta make sure that I’m pitting myself in good situations to keep them from scoring or going to their strong suits. You know, it’s tough because those guys have been doing it for so long so you know why they’re good and you know why they’re doing it and you know who they are, so you know, on the other side of it, there’s always that, you know, you play good offense and good defense, but there’s always better offenses out there on the floor. So, we got put in that situation a couple of times with plays down the stretch.’
In the end, most Celtics fans went home happy because they got to cheer their team in a thrilling double-overtime win over the hated Heat and they got to boo the man who turned coat on them last summer. But as he did when he was in Boston, Allen remained philosophical.
“I thought after a while once you say when people boo you get to that moment of people clapping and I think the better heads prevailed and they say ‘hey, this is our guy regardless of where he’s playing’’¦you know we all have history together, and that always comes to the forefront and always surfaces and people rmember the great times. Those times are part of my life, they’re part of my family, part of who I am, so that’s always gonna be at the forefront,” Allen said. “When I finish playing, a lot of these days are gonna be the days I remember.’