|What If: Tony Allen||01.10.09 at 1:56 pm ET|
On January 10, 2007 Tony Allen blew out his left knee in a post-whistle slam dunk. Two years later, he still isn’t the same player.
At the time of his injury Allen was one of the few bright spots on a dismal Boston Celtics team. He had stepped up in the absence of Paul Pierce and was doing his best to lead his team with explosiveness and defensive hustle. He was also averaging a career high 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and shooting 51.4% from the field. In an instant, it was gone.
Reminders of Allen’s injury have come to mind with the recent struggles of the Celtics bench. He has missed the last three games with an ankle strain and has been inconsistent when healthy. Allen, who turns 27 on Sunday, has learned to accept his role as a defensive specialist. At times there are flashes of the old TA, slashing to the basket, getting up for a dunk, or attacking the hoop for a rebound. But those highlights have been few and far between.
On the date of his injury it’s easy to wonder, what if Tony Allen never went up for that dunk?
If Allen had continued his breakout season, he most likely would have been packaged in the Ray Allen trade instead of Delonte West. If not, the Minnesota Timberwolves probably would have pushed for him in the Kevin Garnett deal. Allen was playing too well to stay on a team desperate to make moves.
There would be no need to wonder what if. Chances are Tony Allen wouldn’t be on the Celtics.
|Cs to be challenged by one of their own||01.08.09 at 11:42 pm ET|
Before Rajon Rondo was taking hard spills on the court, it was Delonte West who was sacrificing his body for the Boston Celtics. Two years after leaving the Cs as part of the Ray Allen deal, West has brought his hustle to the Cleveland where it has sparked LeBron James and the streaking Cavaliers. Those who played with West early in his career are not surprised by his success.
‘There’s no doubt that I thought before Delonte even went there, I thought Delonte was a perfect fit for LeBron James,’ said Brian Scalabrine, a teammate of two seasons. ‘When he got traded to Seattle and he wasn’t playing for whatever, it’s just all about the place you go and where you fit in.’
West has fit in perfectly since being dealt from the Seattle SuperSonics last season. The addition of West, along with Mo Williams, is an upgrade to the Cavaliers backcourt that once relied heavily on James’ long-range game. Rather than compensating for the inconsistencies of Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic, James can play closer to the basket without worrying about their guards.
West’s gritty defense is also a factor in the Cavs’ NBA-low 89.1 points allowed per game (down from 96.7 last season). His intensity will be challenging for the Celtics to contain when they take on the Cavaliers on Friday night.
‘D-West has helped them a lot,’ said Kendrick Perkins, who played three seasons with West. ‘He puts another shooter out there on the court for LeBron to pass it to when he drives and penetrates. D-West can make plays. He’s a defender, he’s very feisty, and D-West helps their team a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we go out there and try to keep him under control, keep him off the offensive rebounding, try to get in his aspects a little bit, and just go from there.’
After losing for three years in Boston and inexplicably riding the bench in Seattle, West inked a multi-year deal last summer to stay in Cleveland. Even though his tough play could burn the Celtics this season, his former teammates know he’s in the right place.
Said Scalabrine, ‘I told him when he came here (with the Cavs), ‘Listen, you’re in a place where you can be, as long as LeBron is there, you can be there for the rest of your career and you can thrive in that situation.”
|Leon the Mutant Ninja Turtle…||10.30.08 at 12:14 pm ET|
‘Tis that time of year when we all dress up or know people who embarrass themselves by dressing up in costumes. I am in the latter category because I consider myself too mature to delve into such childish behavior. After all, when you have two awesome girls dressed as a witch and a bumble bee, what’s the need?
And if that’s not enough of an argument for you as to why I prefer civilian clothes, let Leon Powe try to convince you.
Asked by CSN’s Greg Dickerson if he ever dressed up as anything special on Halloween, Powe recalled a downright frightening and ghoulish experience.
“I remember I was a Ninja Turtle. I swear I don’t wear costumes anymore because of that. I was a Ninja Turtle and all my friends teased me because of that. I had the real nunchucks and I tried to do the stuff like Michelangelo does and I hit myself in the head. Man, I was all messed up that day.”
When not detailing a harrowing Halloween nightmare, Powe also recalled a happier time… this past summer when he took a group of 15 friends and family away to the Bahamas to celebrate the Celtics championship.
“When I went home, I’m all about family, I took all my family on a trip, all expenses paid for, everything. No one needed to spend any money or anything. Just 15 people, my family, my girl’s family and just had fun in the Bahamas. I just cleared my head and came back to work.”
And the best thing about the Bahamas, you don’t need to bring your nunchucks with you to enjoy fun in the sun.
Other tidbits from Thursday’s practice…
Bill Walker, when asked the same Halloween-themed question by Dickerson, said, “I like candy, I just don’t like going door-to-door for it.”
Paul Pierce was schooling everyone in one-on-one drills to the basket in the open portion of practice, including rookie J.R. Giddens, sans shirt. “We’re making each other better,” Pierce said. “We challenge each other and it’s fun, too.” … unless your name is J.R. Giddens.
The Celtics will not be caught off-guard by Chicago rookie sensation-to-be Derrick Rose. “Derrick Rose, it’s funny just watching him. He didn’t have a great game but you see greatness. He’s going to be a great player. He is already controlling that team, they’re running at a better speed. His decision-making is what stood out.”