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Allen has been there for Celtics

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / December 13, 2010

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The irony is obvious, but in order to be Ray Allen, he has to deal with it.

Over Allen’s 15-year career, he’s played with such a death-and-taxes consistency that when the shots are falling, no one thinks anything of it. They’re supposed to fall, like the light’s supposed to come on when you flick the switch, like the car’s supposed to start when you turn the key.

But when the Celtics guard’s shots aren’t falling, it’s like the sky’s falling, instead.

The media scrum is always larger, the talk is always louder. Everyone becomes a shooting coach — “Is there something going on with your form?’’

And a part of Allen chuckles.

“There’s more fanfare associated with when I’m not doing it,’’ he said. “I might have a throng of media asking me what happened, or just trying to get my thoughts on what’s going on. But if I score 20, 25 points, it’s just a regular day’s work. You just do what you do.

“I do believe that when people make a big deal out of it — like if I miss a layup or I miss a free throw or miss a three in a crucial moment — that’s what they want to talk about. But I always say, I’ve missed thousands of shots. I’m not worried about that. You figure it out the next game. But I don’t worry about it.’’

This season, he’s easily off to his best start as a Celtic. He’s averaging 16.6 points a game, scoring from the floor and from 3-point range as effectively as he has in any of his four seasons in Boston.

At this time last season, the Celtics were 19-4, but Allen was shooting 33.7 percent from 3-point range (34 of 101). He finished the season at 36.3 percent, one of the lowest long-distance percentages of his career.

After Saturday night’s 93-62 trouncing of the Bobcats, the Celtics are 19-4.

Allen has led the Celtics in scoring each of the past three games.

Crickets.

He’s knocking down 43.5 percent of his long balls, better than he’s shot it in his career.

Yawns.

He pulled up in front of the Blazers bench Dec. 1 and drilled the shot that sent them back West with an L, on a night in which he missed 9 of his 12 shots, and the thought was that drilling the winner was what he was supposed to do.

He knocked down a crucial 3-pointer with a little over a minute left in the Celtics’ win over the 76ers Thursday night, and Glen Davis got more credit for making the pass.

The irony.

“That’s how it is,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “When you assume something is going to happen, then it doesn’t, then you notice. The only way he gets noticed is when he misses shots.

“It’s just who he is. Ray’s not dunking the ball. He’s not flashy. He’s just making shots. He does it so much I think people just assume it. He could lead you in scoring and nobody notices, where when a guy dunks or does a flashy layup, you notice all that.’’

Allen put himself in this predicament, in a sense, by making consistency his calling card. He started his career with the Bucks by playing 400 consecutive games, still a franchise record.

“When I first got in this league, I really admired what Cal Ripken did,’’ Allen said. “I said to myself, ‘If there’s one thing — I don’t know if I’m going to be good in this league, but I want to be somebody that you can rely on and count on.’ ’’

Two seasons ago, he knocked down 72 straight free throws, breaking Larry Bird’s Celtics record. He missed two straight in the playoffs last year against Miami, and it immediately sent people to the record books for the last time it had happened (three years before). The fact that he’s missed seven freebies already this season is mind-boggling.

But he wants it that way.

“I believe that people do look at me as a stalwart out there on the floor for this team, knowing that I’m always going to be there, and that is my goal,’’ Allen said. “Somebody that you can always count on.’’

Not just at the line. Not just in the final seconds. But in the gym early in the morning on offdays.

“They expect me to be there,’’ Allen said. “They’re like, ‘There he is. He’s in the gym.’ ’’

And the first day he’s not?

“Then there’s really something wrong,’’ he said. “It’s something to be counted on, relied upon, in this industry.’’

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

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