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Celtics notebook

Allen comes off the bench again

The Celtics’ Greg Stiemsma, who finished with three rebounds, looks for position against the 76ers’ Thaddeus Young (left) and Evan Turner. The Celtics’ Greg Stiemsma, who finished with three rebounds, looks for position against the 76ers’ Thaddeus Young (left) and Evan Turner. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / April 9, 2012
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Ray Allen in a reserve role is a rare occurrence - so rare that Allen did not recall the last time it happened before he began coming off the bench for the Celtics last week.

“I think I did it one time, my rookie year,’’ Allen said before the Celtics took a 103-79 win over Philadelphia Sunday night at TD Garden. “I don’t remember the last time.’’

Reminded that he had four off-the-bench appearances in his career, Allen said: “Maybe because of injury.’’

In fact, Allen had been on the injured list with a sprained ankle for five games before returning as a reserve for Milwaukee in a 98-80 loss at Atlanta Dec. 5, 2002. Allen scored 16 points in a 29-minute stint for the Bucks. Less than three months later, Allen was traded to Seattle.

Allen came off the bench for the third successive time for the Celtics Sunday, scoring 10 points against the Sixers.

“We like it,’’ coach Doc Rivers said before the game about using Allen as a sixth man. “I was trying to tell you, we’ve only talked about this for two years as a staff but we’ve never had anyone to step forward. We’ve always wanted a stronger bench. At least in the last year and a half, we’ve talked about it. And now with Avery [Bradley] and, hopefully, if we can get Mickael [Pietrus] back, it’s phenomenal. You have either guy you can play and use the other guy off the bench. That would be the best-case scenario for us.’’

Allen volunteered for the role but said, “I don’t think it will happen for me to ever get comfortable with these 11-or-so games we’ve got left. None of us are settling into our roles. You adapt the best way you can.

“There hasn’t been enough time to understand the consistencies about what our rotations are going to be. You just try to do what you need to do for the team.

“Really, if you’re a player you don’t look at it being a 2 guard, a 3 guard, a forward, center, whatever it may be. You go out and do what the game dictates and you kind of fill in the gaps. It just means me doing whatever I can to help this team. So, that’s kind of my mentality.’’

Problem area

The Celtics were 40 for 68 (58.8 percent), breaking their previous best of the season (52.2 percent against Detroit Dec. 30). The Celtics have been outrebounded the last two games - 45-44 by Indiana and 39-37 by Philadelphia - but clearly have improved on the boards.

“We’ve got to rebound the ball, do a better job competing on the rebounds,’’ Paul Pierce said. “Especially at the guard level. It’s going to be important for us as we wind down the season and playoffs. That’s what our one true weakness is. And if we can address that here down the stretch, we’ll be a tough team to beat.’’

Pietrus passes test

Rivers said Pietrus passed the initial test for concussion recovery.

“He took one of the tests, one of the baseline tests, and passed it,’’ Rivers said. “So, I think that’s the first step.

“I don’t know exactly how long [he’ll be out]. I’m sure he’s probably hoping sooner, but I’m not really sure and I’m actually not sure when he took [the test]. He may have taken it four or five days ago, as far as we know.’’

Rivers on Walker

Rivers on former Celtic Antoine Walker, who recently announced his retirement:

“I had Antoine for half a year, so I really never got to know him really well even though he’s a Chicago kid. But when any of that stuff happens to any athlete [financial troubles] - it doesn’t even have to be basketball - it always tugs at your heart in my opinion because they’ve worked so hard to get ahead. Then when things don’t go right, it really does, it bothers you.’’

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

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