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Celtics notebook

Missing piece to plan

Allen wasn’t open for the final shot

Kevin Garnett walks off, leaving Earl Barron (left) and David Lee to celebrate. Kevin Garnett walks off, leaving Earl Barron (left) and David Lee to celebrate. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / April 7, 2010

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NEW YORK — Even after Chris Duhon busted up the play the Celtics intended to run for Paul Pierce for the potential game winner, the Celtics had a play drawn up to tie the score.

The plan was to get the ball to Ray Allen, who two days earlier hit a fourth-quarter 3-pointer to brush back the Cavaliers. But in the end, the ball ended up in Rasheed Wallace’s hands almost like a hot potato, and he rushed up a desperation 3-pointer well after the buzzer in the Celtics’ 104-101 loss last night at Madison Square Garden.

“It was for a three for Ray,’’ coach Doc Rivers said, succinctly summing up the strategy before adding a bit of sarcasm. “You actually have to execute it to try to get it so . . . ’’

Rajon Rondo tried to let the play develop, but from what he saw, the defense wasn’t giving Allen a good enough look.

“I didn’t think Ray was open,’’ Rondo said. “I thought they did a good job, they switched out on us. I tried to get it out to Rasheed and it was too late.’’

Allen said when he came around the corner, he felt like he was in position to take a good shot, but the ball never got to him.

“I don’t know when I came off if Rondo didn’t see that I was open,’’ Allen said. “I don’t know what he had. Right when I came off, I was ready for it. I don’t know if he thought I wasn’t open or what.’’

Waiting list
He was banished to the Knicks bench for 14 games in December, then after Mike D’Antoni put him back in, he dropped 41 points on the Hawks.

Nate Robinson knows how to play the waiting game.

Rivers said Robinson and Marquis Daniels have fallen out of the rotation, outplayed by Tony Allen and Michael Finley, and Robinson said he’ll wait until his time comes, just as he did earlier in the season.

“Whenever my number’s called, I’ll be ready to play,’’ Robinson said. “I know he has his guys that have been here for a while. I’ve just got to wait and, whenever my number’s called and however many minutes I play, be ready to produce and to help this team get over that extra hump.’’

Robinson was acquired at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Eddie House to New York, and in his first 22 games as a Celtic, the results have been mixed. He has tried to find his place offensively within the Celtics system while also trying to learn a complex defensive scheme.

Brought in largely for his ability to be a scoring spark off the bench, Robinson has scored in double figures just four times, the last time March 12 in a 122-103 blowout of Indiana. Rivers chose to sit Robinson and Daniels in Sunday’s win over Cleveland. He had 5 points in 14 minutes in last night’s 104-101 loss to the Knicks.

“He’s been pretty good,’’ Rivers said of Robinson. “He’s been a pro. He’s working at it. I told him what I need out of him and how he’s going to earn things back. He’s going to have to work on them, and he will.’’

Robinson has had difficulty picking up a defense that also puzzled Mikki Moore, last year’s late-season pickup.

Star-struck
The Celtics have struggled to keep a lid on the opponents’ stars, something they typically pride themselves on. The last four stars they faced before last night — Manu Ginobili (28 points), Kevin Durant (37), Aaron Brooks (30), and LeBron James (42) — had combined for 137 points on 49.4 percent shooting (43 of 87). That’s an average of 34.3 points per game.

Danilo Gallinari added himself to the list, going for 31 last night.

“The fact is that the stars are beating us now,’’ Rivers said. “That’s something we’ve never allowed, for the most part. Stars have had good numbers, but not great percentages.’’

Miami’s Dwyane Wade has averaged 33.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in three losses to the Celtics this season. 1

“That scares you going into the playoffs because, say, if you do draw Miami, Wade is the second-best player out of Marquette,’’ said Rivers, who also played at Marquette. “He’s a terrific player. OK, he’s first.’’

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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