Allen quietly adjusts to new role
Coming off bench hasn’t been difficult
MIAMI - Ray Allen is attempting to warm to his role of coming off the bench. The Celtics guard started all but four of his previous 1,144 NBA games before becoming a reserve last Thursday against the Bulls.
The adjustment has been as smooth as Allen’s 3-pointer. But it has also been rather quiet.
Allen did not speak with the media after wins Saturday against the Pacers and Sunday against the 76ers.
He told reporters Thursday that since there were murmurs about Avery Bradley becoming the starter at shooting guard, he decided to approach coach Doc Rivers about making the change. He reiterated that he would much rather start but was willing to sacrifice for the team.
With his sore ankles healing, Allen is attempting to embrace the role. He checked into Tuesday’s 115-107 win over the Heat at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter, replacing Bradley. He finished with 9 points and three assists in 35 minutes.
“The shots that I am getting now, you just kind of build into them,’’ Allen said when asked if the shots coming off the bench are different. “You adjust to how [defenses] are coming to you and you understand that and you adjust to that situation or role.’’
Allen struck quickly Tuesday, draining a leaning jumper after a timeout and following with a 3-pointer from the corner.
Allen said he has not consulted with any of his NBA friends or peers about coming off the bench later in a career.
“It’s not difficult,’’ he said. “It’s just being ready.’’
Mickael Pietrus watched his team’s April 1 win over the Heat with a towel draped over his head and shades covering his eyes. And he had to watch the game on television because the crowd noise would have been too much to endure after the Grade 3 concussion he sustained March 23 against the 76ers.
Since then, Pietrus has made swift progress, passing his first concussion test, and Rivers said he may return before the season ends.
“He’s been running with no effects, which I think is even more important,’’ Rivers said. “That’s a great sign for us. He sounds like sooner than later, but that’s from Pietrus, so we have to temper all of that.
“Listen, we get him at all, it’s a blessing, because it didn’t look like we would. That would be a huge boost for our team. That would be great for us - it would give us the ability, if we wanted to, to use that different lineup . . . It makes us a better basketball team.’’
One interested observer in the success of Bradley is Heat backup center Dexter Pittman, who played with Bradley at Texas and talks to his former teammate weekly.
Pittman played just two games last season as the Heat attempted to get him into better condition and more familiar with the NBA game. His role has expanded slightly this season, as he was averaging 6.8 minutes in 29 games.
Pittman and Bradley were in similar situations, as Bradley’s rookie season was limited to 31 games by an ankle injury and the Celtics considered him more of a project.
Bradley’s standing within the organization has changed dramatically, and Pittman said he is not surprised.
“I knew what type of player he was and I know what type of players Texas players are,’’ said Pittman. “We work hard, play hard, don’t take a possession off. That’s the way we were branded when we got there.’’
Pittman offered Bradley encouragement after a tough rookie season.
“Last year he was a little discouraged and down on himself and he wasn’t getting the minutes that he was getting and I had a long talk,’’ Pittman said. “I said, ‘Avery, I’m not playing this year, I’m developing. You’re getting spurts of minutes. I wish I could get those spurts of minutes.’
“When I went up to Boston [April 1], I told him, ‘Remember, we had this talk last year and you were down on yourself. You wanted to stop or whatever. Now look at you now.’ ’’
Tuesday was just the sixth time in team history the Celtics shot at least 60 percent from the field, 3-point line, and 80 percent from the free throw line. The last time they accomplished the feat was March 4, 2009 against the Nets . . . With his eight free throws, Paul Pierce moved ahead of Wilt Chamberlain for 14th in all-time free throws made. Pierce has 6,065 . . . Kevin Garnett has scored in double figures in all of his 36 career games against the Heat . . . Rajon Rondo’s streak of 18 games with double-figure assists is the longest since Jazz great John Stockton had a 29-game streak from Jan. 25 to March 30, 1992 . . . After not having a DNP-coach’s decision this season, Keyon Dooling has not played in the past two games, and he played just two minutes in last Thursday’s loss to the Bulls. Rivers said Dooling is likely to sit against bigger backcourts . . . After spurning the Celtics to sign with the Heat after being released by the Nuggets, Ronny Turiaf has made his way into the starting lineup. Turiaf collected 4 points and 6 rebounds in 17 minutes Tuesday night.