|Game 4: A strategic shift||05.10.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
The Celtics came out for what might be the most important half of their season intent on putting the game in the hands of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They have been running high isolation pick and rolls with Pierce at the point and Allen setting the screen.
Pierce, who scored 18 points in the first half, kept it going in the early minutes of the third quarter making a pair of jumpers and getting to the line. Allen, who was held to just four points on four shots also made a couple of pull-up jumpers. It’s a pretty radical shift in strategy but so far it’s paid dividends.
|A ‘completely extraordinary’ series||05.03.09 at 1:32 am ET|
Ray Allen has a way with words, even after it seemed every superlative had been used to describe the seven-game marathon struggle that finally ended Saturday night with a 109-99 Celtics win over the Bulls in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“Completely extraordinary,” Allen said. “I’ve had friends all over the world watch this series and people just commenting on how nerve-wracking this series was, how entertained they were, how excited they were to watch us play and how devastated they were in the losses.”
Before the game, Allen was asked how either team could summon the energy for a Game 7 after a record four of the seven games went to overtime.
“I just think the people watching it are more fatigued than we are playing it,” Allen said. “I’m looking up at people in the stands in Chicago and they’re tired and ready to go home. For anybody watching at home, you can’t take your eyes off the TV, people are up late at night.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Ray on Game 7’s and friendly advice||05.02.09 at 8:03 pm ET|
We all prepare for moments of stress in our own way. About two hours before Game 7 Kendrick Perkins was shooting free throws in a mostly empty Garden, while Derrick Rose was at the other end of the floor working on his mid-range game. Up in Section 111, the kid who dances to “Livin on a Prayer” was working on his steps. (Sorry to break it to anyone who thought that was spontaneous.)
Ray Allen wasn’t on the court because he had already gotten in his work as he always does. Allen’s legendary pregame shooting routine is a big reason why the veteran guard is generally calm and usually willing to talk to the press before games. While the media-to-player ratio on the locker room was at one time about 42-0 in favor of the press, Allen walked to his locker at approximately 6:55 p.m. and indicated he was ready to share some of his thoughts on the eve of yet another Game 7.
He talked about the disappointment when he was a Milwaukee Buck and the team found out that Scott Williams would be suspended while they were in the air flying to Philly for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Sixers. He talked about a 70-year-old woman who came up to him in the grocery store and told him, “nice game.”
“I’ve been in series where the other team was favored and we played over our heads,” Allen said. “I’ve been in series where both teams were even. I’ve never been in a series like this where you look at so many games that could have gone either way.”
Allen was asked is he was tired. “No,” he said letting it sit there for a second. “This is what I train my body for, physically and mentally.” As for the hype of a Game 7, Allen said, “That’s for people on the outside looking in.”
As to whether this is the best series ever, Allen offered, “Regardless of who’s playing and what round it is, this has been great basketball.”
|Game 7 Garnett Chatter||05.01.09 at 8:37 am ET|
There were rumors of a possible return even before Kevin Garnett decided to hold off knee surgery. There were the conspiracy theorists who believed KG would suit up if it came down to a Celtics/Cavs Eastern Conference Finals. Reggie Miller believed Garnett would return even sooner if the Celtics made it out of the first round.
But now the Celtics are tied 3-3 with the Bulls and elimination is on the line. It was only inevitable that the rumors — remember, nothing has been confirmed — would heat up.
Following the Celtics Game 6 triple-overtime loss, ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski addressed the issue:
Even more interesting is the rumor, nothing more, that the injured Kevin Garnett might attempt a Game 7 return.
“You must be one of those conspiracy theorists,” said Allen, when asked to divulge any secret Garnett-will-play scenarios.
Allen has acted in movies, but he seemed to play it straight on the possibility of a Garnett return. He said Garnett is “anxious,” but wouldn’t you be if you had to watch Marbury?
|Celtics among most popular jerseys||04.30.09 at 9:59 am ET|
The Big Three were a big draw in merchandise sales this season. Kevin Garnett (#4), Paul Pierce (#7), and Ray Allen (#12) ranked among the top 15 most popular NBA jerseys for the 2008-09 season, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and online at www.NBAStore.com. Kobe Bryant ranked number one. The Celtics, who ranked first in team sales last season, dropped to second behind the Lakers.
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
4. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
5. Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
8. Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
9. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
10. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
11. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
12. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
13. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
14. Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns
15. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. New York Knicks
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. New Orleans Hornets
7. Phoenix Suns
8. Miami Heat
9. Detroit Pistons
10. San Antonio Spurs
|Ray: All game the whistle was battling me||04.29.09 at 1:17 am ET|
Now Ray Allen knows what it feels like to sit on the bench as someone else plays the hero.
Allen was again “Johnny On the Spot” when he drained a three on Sunday afternoon in Chicago to force Game 4 to overtime.
But with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Allen was whistled for his sixth foul, running into a screen set by Brad Miller, of all people. Miller would have his own issues with the refs later.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Perk getting called for that same play but I was just trying to fight through and they called it on me,” said a frustrated Allen, who fouled out for just the second time in 72 playoff games and the first since June 15, 2008, a loss to the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
And this time it would have to be someone else to the rescue. How ironic since Allen had just drained a long three from the right baseline to bring the Celtics to within three, 83-80, and it looked for all the world he was about to work his magic again.
That is until he got called for his sixth foul.
“I was extremely upset,” Allen said. “I was disappointed. I thought all game the whistle was battling me. But I didn’t want to be that isolated guy that was over on the sideline and pouting and worrying about himself. Of course, I was angry but we had to win the game. Those were the cards we were dealt so we had to figure out the best way, whether it was Tony (Allen) Steph (Marbury) or Eddie (House), who was going to have to come in and do the job.”
It was Pierce who nailed back-to-back jumpers in overtime to put the Celtics up, 104-101, and then Pierce who hit the game-winner with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime.
“I guess now I know what it feels like to sit on the sideline and not be able to do anything and not have control,” Allen said. “For me, it was toughest feeling I’ve had to deal with. But Paul and Rondo came through for us. I figured as mad as I was, it wasn’t going to do us any good trying to figure out what happened in the game.”
|Pierce reveals favorite players to watch||04.26.09 at 2:17 pm ET|
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