Allen back in groove
He scores 22 points in return from injury
Ray Allen has had a front-row seat in watching his personal and professional worlds change significantly in the last week. When Allen jammed his ankle last Sunday, the Celtics were four games below .500 and Allen was a father of three children.
In recent days, Allen has been recovering from injury on the bench as the Celtics regained their winning touch, and in the delivery room as his wife, Shannon, gave birth to a boy.
Allen, though, appeared on the TD Garden court yesterday as if nothing much had changed, scoring 22 points in an 88-87 loss to Cleveland.
But even if Allen barely missed a beat - or a shot - in his return, there were some glitches in his game. Allen struggled defensively at times and he missed a layup with 2:53 remaining in the contest and a 3-point attempt with the Celtics holding a 1-point lead in the final minute.
“I felt great, personally,’’ Allen said. “I just tried to play. I was aware of my body early and I felt great, and as the game went on I got to feeling a lot better out there.
“I thought from the beginning of the game we played pretty solid. Fourth quarter, offensively, we didn’t score and we were up 9, 11 points and slowly they came back and this is just a bad loss for us.’’
Part of the formula for opponents’ success against the Celtics earlier in the season was limiting Allen’s field goal attempts. But Allen got off 14 shots, his second-highest total of the season, converting nine.
“I didn’t think they did anything differently,’’ Allen said of the Cavaliers’ fourth-quarter defense. “It seemed like we didn’t get to our spots and we didn’t execute what we needed to execute - which I thought we did a good job of all game.
“But I don’t believe we gave ourselves a chance to score. We got opportunities but we didn’t make the best of them. I missed a layup.
“You know, I had a good look at the ‘3’ down the stretch. We had those looks. With the lead that we had, if we got stops, it wouldn’t have mattered.’’
Allen was eager to return to action, but he was also enjoying watching the Celtics play well while he was absent.
“The loss - it doesn’t matter, individually, what I did out there,’’ Allen said. “Just being on the sidelines, watching these guys play well and play hard and winning games, I wanted to be a part of that. So, it’s like I need to do more. I had to figure out what [to do] defensively.
“We see them again in two days, so get back in there defensively and be better, take away from what they do. Because we all are part of it, we all see it.
“That’s probably the one saving grace. You know we’re getting another shot at them. You don’t have to sit and wait maybe three weeks to a month or two months.
“So, we gave them confidence. They beat us on our floor and we have to protect what we have here better than what we have done. And, you know we’re all kicking ourselves, everyone is really [ticked] that we let this game slide. I’m glad it’s not football, you know, you’ve got to wait a week.
“We’ve got to turn it around and be ready.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.