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Celtics Notebook

Allen is quiet on, off court

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / May 18, 2008

WALTHAM - Throughout the season Celtics guard Ray Allen was no stranger to the media. He usually made time to comment after practices, and even after a disappointing performance in Game 6 he discussed his scoring troubles in the playoffs.

Yet, yesterday, Allen chose not to speak to the media a day after he scored 9 points in a 74-69 loss to the Cavaliers in Game 6. In the playoffs, Allen is averaging 13.4 points and shooting 39 percent from the field.

But coach Doc Rivers said there is no need to worry about Allen's spirits.

"I think he's pretty good. Actually, I know he's good," said Rivers. "He's watching golf right now and eating barbecue in the back room."

The Celtics are looking to bounce back from their lowest offensive output in these playoffs in today's Game 7 at TD Banknorth Garden.

Rivers reiterated that ball movement will continue to be a key if the Celtics want to keep the offense fluid and unpredictable.

"We haven't been saying it, but we've shown them it on film not just from [Game 6] but other games," he said. "[Friday night] for the first quarter and a half, it was awesome. The ball never stopped moving."

About Allen, Rivers said, "We make a conscious effort to keep him running off of screens. Then he has to make a play. They're not going to give him shots.

"We're going to give him shots with ball movement at times. But as far as running plays, catching off of screens, they are trapping every time he catches it. That's fine with us. It opens things up."

Cassell OK with it

Sam Cassell can see himself coaching one day. After 15 years in the league, he understands the transition to that world may come sooner than later, but it does not stop the 38-year-old from still wanting to play.

Cassell sat out Game 6 as Rivers gave Eddie House an opportunity.

"I just told him we were going in another direction," Rivers said of Cassell. "Just stay ready. Sam's perfect. Sam's a pro. He wants to win. If that means him playing tomorrow, if that means him sitting . . . he'll do whatever he has to do to help his team win."

Cassell has not scored a point in the last two games and is averaging 5.7 points per game in the playoffs. While Cassell said he is eager to play, he respects Rivers's decision.

"When I was 25, 26, or 27, it wouldn't have been a problem," Cassell said, "[because] I know if I was that young, I would have been playing 35 minutes. [Rivers] went with his gut feeling. I don't question what Coach does. Eddie played wonderful for us."

Cassell said he tried to relay what he saw on the court to Paul Pierce and the other players.

"This is going to be my future job anyway, so it just gives me an opportunity to do it," he said. "Of course, I want to play. I'm a competitor. I'm not overzealous, where I'm going to pout and shout."

Take a number

If you lined up yesterday at the Garden to buy a ticket for today's game, you may have been surprised to learn that being first to the window was not a guarantee of tickets. A random number system was used to sell 600 of the 1,200 tickets available for the game. The setup produced complaints, but the process was used to limit ticket agencies and scalpers from gathering most of the tickets, said Shawn Sullivan, senior vice president of ticket sales, marketing, and service. If the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference finals, Sullivan said the process will be used again when tickets for Games 1 and 2 go on sale Monday . . . About the preparation of the Pistons, who get the winner of today's game, coach Flip Saunders told reporters, "We approach it to where it's almost like a minicamp situation. You work it just like you do normally during the season when you get in a situation where you get some days off. You work them with the purpose of getting something out of them."

Not misty on mystique

Although his team has yet to win in Boston in the regular season or in the playoffs (0-5), Cavaliers coach Mike Brown wasn't taking a cavalier approach when he said he didn't see what all the fuss was about when it came to the Celtics mystique.

Sure, Brown knows all about the Celtics' rich history.

But he also knows this Celtics team is not the same as those teams. So, where's the mystique?

"You hear people talk about the Boston mystique, but I know for me, personally, I don't feel it at all," Brown said during a teleconference yesterday before his team was scheduled to fly to Boston. "I just feel like this group is the Boston Celtics and they did a nice job of putting this group together this year and they played some great basketball this year."

But when it came to the mystique having any bearing on Game 7, "I haven't even thought of [Larry] Bird, [Robert] Parish, and all that other stuff, until you just now brought it up," Brown told a Cleveland reporter. "It's something that I haven't addressed with our team."

Guardedly optimistic

Of greater importance to the Cavaliers, Brown said, was how Cleveland planned to guard the Celtics. In Game 5 Wednesday night at the Garden, the Celtics had three starters score 20-plus points: Pierce (29), Kevin Garnett (26), and Rajon Rondo (20). "The only thing we can do is make them work hard for their scores," Brown said. "There's going to be some other guys who get some looks, and Rondo got some looks and he burned us in Game 5, so we've got to keep mixing up our coverages on those guys and keep the other guys off balance." Rondo buried back-to-back treys in a big Celtics second-quarter comeback in Game 5 . . . Brown said he was hoping to get 7-foot-3-inch center Zydrunas Ilgauskas more involved in the offense, especially in light of his decline in production in the last two games of the series in comparison with the first two. In Games 1 and 2, Ilgauskas tallied 41 points on 17-for-30 shooting (7 of 8 foul shots) to go along with 17 rebounds; in Games 5 and 6, Ilgauskas combined for 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting (3 of 3 foul shots) and 17 rebounds. "Boston is doing a nice job of defending him in the post with pre-rotations on the pick-and-roll and the pick-and-pop," Brown said.

Marc J. Spears and Michael Vega of the Globe Staff contributedto this report; Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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