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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Allen is indicted on battery charge

A Cook County (Ill.) grand jury indicted Tony Allen on three counts of aggravated battery for his alleged role in a fight that escalated into a shooting at the White Palace Grill in the West Loop Aug. 28. Allen heard the indictment yesterday during a preliminary hearing held in Chicago. According to his lawyer, Michael Zaslavsky, Allen expects to enter a plea of not guilty at his Dec. 6 arraignment. Aggravated assault carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

The Celtics play in Houston the night of the arraignment on the first stop of an extended swing through the Southwest. It is uncertain when and where Allen will rejoin the team as the guard continues his rehabilitation from right knee surgery. The conditions of his $150,000 bond allow Allen to travel for work purposes.

Allen was required to attend the preliminary hearing in Chicago yesterday and missed Tuesday night's game in Detroit as a result. He was on the bench during the second half of last night's loss to the Sonics, though he was not in the locker room before the game.

''All I can say is the same thing I've been saying all along," said Paul Pierce. ''I'll lend him my full support."

The next significant court date is Nov. 28, when Zaslavsky expects a judge to hear a motion he filed pertaining to the civil case. Zaslavsky wants a stay of discovery in the civil case pending the resolution of the criminal case. Allen does not have to be present in a Chicago when the motion is heard.

In the criminal case, the version of events offered by the prosecution at an earlier bond hearing alleges that Allen pointed out shooting victim Marktwain Johnson as soon as he entered the White Palace with a large group. The two men had argued in the past about how much money Allen makes. Shortly after spotting Johnson, the prosecution alleges Allen ordered members of his entourage to ''[bleep] him up." A fight ensued.

The prosecution claims to have video from a White Palace surveillance camera that shows Allen pointing to Johnson and Nigel Odum, as well as striking Odum in the face. Odum suffered a fractured left eye socket as a result of the fight and required surgery. The aggravated battery charges stem from Allen allegedly striking Odum.

Johnson was shot in the left arm and left side during the altercation. Johnson and Odum filed a civil complaint seeking monetary damages for their injuries.

The right mix?

Coach Doc Rivers continues to search for the right combination of players on the second unit. He expects Ryan Gomes and Al Jefferson to remain prominent fixtures in the rotation, but will mix and match the rest of the reserves. Ricky Davis should still see most of his minutes with the second unit. Last night, there was more playing time than usual for Orien Greene and Justin Reed, who both entered the game in the second quarter.

''We're not getting a lot of points, but that will come," said Rivers. ''I'm not that concerned with it, to be honest. Our second unit defense is worse."

Added Pierce: ''The bench just need to play better defense. We know we can score. If the starters can come out with the lead, they should just go in and focus on playing defense. Why put more pressure on them to score? If Marcus [Banks] and Tony [Allen] were here, those guys would be contributing."

Glimpse of the future

Game by game, Jefferson (10 points, eight rebounds) regains the form destined to make him an All-Star many times over. After missing most of training camp with a sprained left ankle, the power forward appears to have his conditioning and his touch completely back. And most of the time, Jefferson is playing defense the way the coaching staff wants. ''He's in better shape," said Rivers. ''He definitely has a better feel around the basket again. His hands are working again. He's doing a lot of things where you can see he's almost back. I think he's playing defense. He's rebounding. One thing Al does, even when he doesn't defend as well as we'd like he to do, is he still rebounds everytime he's on the floor . . . Former Kansas University stars Nick Collison (career-high 13 rebounds) and Raef LaFrentz engaged in some good Jayhawk talk before the game.

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