ALLEN COMES UP BIG
He refuses to acknowledge it with anything more than an “My body’s feeling good,” but since the trade deadline, Ray Allen’s been a completely rejuvenated player. He’s averaged 18.7 points per game shooting 57 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. He gave the Celtics 25 point tonight and gave the Wizards two daggers in the final minute and a half.
“I don’t attribute it to anything but I think the team is coming to me a little bit where everybody is moving the ball and we’re, I think, playing the right way. I think the all-star game helped. It helped all of us.”
A week ago against New Jersey, the Celtics couldn’t tried to make a push to stop what ended up being their most embarrassing loss of the year. Tonight, they ended the game by outscoring the Wizards 20-4 in the final 6:10, rattling a young team. Paul Pierce said the Celtics that showed up in the fourth quarter was the team he was used to seeing.
“We know it’s there, but the thing is at this point we are finally healthy. I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but it is really tough to get into a rhythm though out the season when every other game it feels like we are playing with different line ups. We are playing a few games with the whole team back and it’s really helping.
“We are getting the practice time in, and you know what we are capable of, I mean we have been there before. We are a veteran squad. We know how to do these things. We know how to win games, it’s about going out there and polishing our tools. By no means are we perfect.”
GARNETT’S MIND GAMES
You can pinpoint the Wizard’s self-destruction to a moment in the fourth quarter when Andray Blatche and Kevin Garnett got into it. Blatche was holding onto the ball going into a timeout and Garnett tried to take the ball from him, getting under his skin. Blatche snatched the ball away from Garnett, who then pushed his chest into Blatche, who responded by doing the same to Garnett. The two of them eventually cooled off, but not before Kendrick Perkins ripped the ball away from Blatche. The rest of the way, Blatche, who was killing the Celtics with 23 points, fell into the trap of talking trash to Garnett rather than playing. Wizards coach Flip Saunders said that was costly.
We choked … We got young guys, they don’t know what it’s like to be in a situation. We start talking to Garnett, start talking trash and everything else. Got Garnett and those guys juiced up and we just pissed down our leg the last six minutes. You have a veteran team that knows how to close out games, against a young team that hasn’t been there and instead of just letting a sleeping dog lie we juiced up their energies. We had plays coming off timeouts and we had guys going to the wrong side of the floor, we were so discombobulated.”
It’s a win, and having won four straight games for the first time since December, the Celtics will take it. But as Gary Washburn points out, excluding the final six minutes, it wasn’t a win the Celtics should be proud about. The signs of how bad the first half was were obvious. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined to go 4 of 16 in the first half, the bench went 2 for 14 and the Celtics were down 44-38 to the Wizards, who were armed with less talent than the Nets even though their record might have been better. The difference this time is that they won.