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Allen refuses to miss the fun

Now without a 3-pointer for two games (and 12 straight shots), Ray Allen still found ways to score 12 points in the Celtics’ win. Now without a 3-pointer for two games (and 12 straight shots), Ray Allen still found ways to score 12 points in the Celtics’ win. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff)
By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / June 11, 2010

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Ray Allen’s number of shots diminished last night. Still, Allen produced greater returns as the Celtics took a 96-89 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

It was another rare stat night for Allen, who played more minutes than any other Celtic (by more than five minutes), but had fewer field goal attempts than nearly everyone who played extensively.

That is not quite the formula the Celtics devised for success in this series — but it worked in this contest as Allen and reserves Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace took control in the final quarter.

“That stretch right there was probably the most important segment of the game,’’ Allen said. “Just ball movement from one side to the next, Glen was big in the post, Nate was big, there was not really one person they could focus in on. Then, defensively, we made them shoot over the top, we made them miss, and then we were able to run. The tide of the game definitely was in our favor then.’’

Allen totaled only 12 points and still has not converted a 3-pointer since his 32-point breakout in Game 2. In fact, Allen nailed only one shot from outside 15 feet, his other three field goals drives and a pull-up.

“I, personally, it’s just one of those things,’’ Allen said of his 0-for-13 Game 3 performance. “Just watching it — trying to pick apart different things that I could have done. I had a lot of good shots, they just didn’t go in for me.

“But I just have to start thinking — they’re putting their all-out effort into keeping me from shooting the ball, so I’ve just got to go past them and force someone to step up and help so the next guy gets a shot. It’s just an adjustment and you learn from it, you see it, you watch the film, and you make yourself better.

“I’ve been in this situation hundreds of times. You know, to me, this is the Finals, this is the biggest stage that I’ll play in my life, but, you know, the game is the same. So, I try to look at it that way. I don’t try to minimize it.

“At the same time, knowing that we rehearsed this, I’m overprepared to a certain extent, so I’m ready to play the games.’’

Allen sank 4 of 11 shots, and was 0 for 4 from long distance to run his two-game drought to 0 for 12.

“For me, I just have to adjust to how they’re playing, they’re definitely trying to run me off shooting the three,’’ said Allen, one of his six Celtics to score in double figures. “The game is going to dictate, offensively, what I’m going to get out there. Try not to force the action, just let it come to me, and those balls are going to come.’’

Allen also had his hands full guarding Kobe Bryant. Allen and Bryant briefly got into a shootout during a 2:19 stretch late in the third quarter, Bryant sinking three successives threes and Allen getting a 20-footer. Then, the Celtics switched things up, putting Tony Allen on Bryant and sending Davis to the low post.

The moves paid off.

Ray Allen drove to tie the score at 64, with 10:31 remaining. Davis scored out of a timeout, set up by a Robinson steal. Ray Allen hit a 15-footer for a 4-point advantage with 8:56 left. And Davis converted a 3-point play, to finish a 9-0 run from which the Lakers couldn’t recover.

“I’m not a big believer right now in the momentum,’’ Allen said. “No team has won two in a row, yet, so we have to create that positive flow in our direction.

“If you think about the guys on our bench there’s a lot of guys, who can help on both ends of the floor, it’s just a matter of getting out there. We preached all year long that there is going to be a game, maybe two or three minutes of a game, maybe a series that somebody that’s not in the starting five is going to have to help with the game. Nate proved that in one game and stepped up in this game.

“We still have two games to win. It’s going to require all of us. This is not just the starting five, this is not about me, Paul [Pierce], and Kevin [Garnett]. It’s about the whole team, and we get everybody in here and have everybody do what they need to do. Like even [Brian Scalabrine], he helps us in practice — it takes everybody, truthfully.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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