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Calls didn’t sit well with Allen

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / June 4, 2010

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LOS ANGELES — Ray Allen protested with the officials briefly then walked to the bench resigned to the fact that this wasn’t his night.

Boston’s shooting guard had just spent nearly seven minutes of the third quarter on the bench after spending 13 first-half minutes as a spectator. Not even a minute after subbing back in he was whistled for his fifth foul, in his mind coming nowhere near Kobe Bryant.

“I didn’t touch him,’’ Allen said. “When he drove I slid my feet with him and when he pulled up for the shot I stood right there. I didn’t get an explanation but that’s what I had to deal with.’’

Fouls made Allen’s night a quiet one. He scored 12 points in the Celtics’ 102-89 Game 1 loss, seeing the floor for just 27 minutes.

“I watched the game from the sideline,’’ Allen said. “It was frustrating. I got a bad whistle tonight. What are you going to do?’’

Allen guarded Miami’s Dwyane Wade in the first round, and had seen his share of Bryant during the regular season, but he couldn’t keep from being plagued by fouls last night and never was able to get into any kind of rhythm, attempting just eight shots and two 3-pointers.

“Ray didn’t have a chance to play tonight,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “He actually started out the game like he was going to have a big game, but then he picked up the fouls. We have to make an adjustment there, that’s for sure.’’

Guarding Bryant is never a one-man job, but Allen’s the front line in the Celtics defense when it comes to stopping him.

“I know where I need to be and I know what I need to do,’’ Allen said. “Obviously I’ve got to do a better job.’’

Rest was welcome
By the time the Finals are over, Rajon Rondo will have played more postseason minutes than he did in either of the past two years.

He had logged 703 before playing nearly 40 in Game 1 last night. In the first 17 games of the playoffs, Rondo averaged 41.4 minutes — the most any Celtic.

The benefit for the Celtics is production (16.7 points, 10 assists, 5.3 rebounds going into last night), the penalty is the toll it inevitably takes, even on a 24-year-old. Back troubles limited Rondo to 38 minutes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Magic and 35 in the series-clinching Game 6. Rondo said the five days of rest leading up to last night’s opener helped get him closer to 100 percent.

“My body is fine,’’ Rondo said. “These five days have definitely been great for me, personally. I know it’s great for the team, but for me I’ve been getting a lot of massage, a lot of treatment. I’m feeling better and better each day. The more time I get, the better I am.’’

Rondo shot 6 of 14 and finished with 13 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Motive is there
Kevin Garnett had a valid excuse for not seeing any of last year’s Finals, in which the Lakers beat the Magic in five games, with Bryant averaging 32.4 points.

“I was under the knife,’’ Garnett said. “I didn’t watch as much as I wanted to watch.’’

Sidelined with a season-ending knee injury, Garnett had a hard enough time watching from the bench, actually leaving the sideline at halftime of their Game 1 loss to Chicago in the first round and watching the rest from the locker room.

His health was a top priority for Rivers, who restricted Garnett’s minutes this season. It was also a constant question mark to outsiders, which motivated Garnett.

“I’m easily motivated when it comes to getting myself going,’’ Garnett said before scoring 16 points in 35 minutes last night. “But health is probably one of the biggest motivational factors you could ever have.’’

The motivation in the rematch with the Lakers, he said, is knowing that they are the league’s top team now.

“I think what everybody has to understand is that LA is the champ,’’ Garnett said. “They’re the defending champs. That’s the motivation.’’

Glassy-eyed
The Lakers controlled the offensive glass during the regular season (11.9) and have been even more dominant in the postseason (12.6). Their strength is one of the Celtics’ glaring weaknesses; Boston was 29th in the league in overall rebounding and last on the offensive glass.

Last night, LA outrebounded Boston, 12-8, on the offensive end.

In the postseason, the Celtics have been outrebounding opponents by one a night (39.6 to 38.6), but were still giving up nearly one more offensive board a night (8.3 to 9.1). With 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum plus the 6-10 Lamar Odom, the Lakers’ frontcourt outsizes the Celtics’. Gasol was especially effective in Game 1, grabbing eight of his 14 boards on the offensive end.

“They’re long, so offensive rebounding is what I’m very concerned by in this series,’’ Rivers said. “I think it’s going to be one of the key factors in this series. We have to be a great rebounding team.’’

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

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