It's safe to say Ray Allen's sore right ankle feels good now.
Allen missed the Celtics' previous two games before last night's 87-85 loss to the Pistons at TD Banknorth Garden with an ankle injury that has been bothering him since Nov. 24 at Charlotte. But the seven-time All-Star came back strong, scoring 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting and nailing 3 of 5 3-point attempts, including a tying trey with 18.9 seconds left.
Allen, who also grabbed five rebounds in 38 minutes, said he wore ankle braces for the first time.
"It felt pretty good," Allen said. "It definitely felt good to be back on the floor."
Allen also had the dunk of the game, a surprising reverse jam with 5:44 remaining that energized the crowd. The rest of his handful of dunks this season didn't come close to this one.
"People think I don't dunk anymore," Allen said.
Moves in slow motionWhile the Celtics aren't pressed to make a roster move, they are open-minded to adding an impact player. Finding one, however, is a challenge.
The Celtics picked up a second open roster spot after waiving rookie forward Brandon Wallace Tuesday. Executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he likes his roster right now. Ainge and coach Doc Rivers, however, also said they wouldn't be opposed to adding a player who could make an immediate impact.
"Our team's winning," Ainge said before last night's game. "Guys are playing well. We have good chemistry. They know our system. Doc has trust in them. We have guys on our roster that aren't even given the opportunities that we'd like to give them.
"Why would we bring someone else in unless we thought they'd be a starter or be better? Right now, we don't see that need."
Rivers said he has not approached Ainge about adding any players. Current veteran free agents include guards Earl Boykins and Gary Payton, forward-centers P.J. Brown, Chris Webber, and Michael Sweetney, and center Dale Davis.
"We're going to sit back, wait, and see what happens," Rivers said. "I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we added someone. Having said that, we'll just have to wait and see who comes out. They would have to be a perfect fit for us."
Friendly adviceWhen the Celtics were close to acquiring Kevin Garnett July 31, he turned to two NBA colleagues and friends for advice - Pistons guard Chauncey Billups and Hawks guard Tyronn Lue. The longtime friends share the same agent (Andy Miller) and work out together in Los Angeles during the offseason. In fact, Billups and Lue stay at Garnett's Malibu, Calif., home.
Billups played for Boston while Lue played for Rivers in Orlando. So when the Timberwolves were close to pulling the trigger on the Garnett trade, Garnett said his "brothers" helped him get through the process.
"They understood that this was my first time being traded, relocating, and how it all works and stuff," Garnett said.
"Basically, I had to get knowledge on the whole matter and educate myself on what was about to happen and then prepare my mind. It was difficult, I'm not even going to [lie].
"But if you have guys that have been there and are like, 'Hey, you'll be OK,' you get through it; friends and family always make things a little easier. It was good to have those guys in my corner."
Billups said he suggested to Garnett that he needed to get traded much sooner.
"We don't get younger . . .," Billups said. "I'm actually happy for him, even though he's going to be one of our biggest competitions over here."
When told he is one of the reasons Garnett is now with an Eastern Conference rival, Billups said: "I am. I ain't even going to lie. It was more personal than just business. I was looking forward to him having a good opportunity, having a chance to play in June.
"Obviously, him coming over here makes it tougher for us. But that's what we want, that's what we need, some good teams."
Flash landing?Utah Flash general manager David Fredman said he has interest in signing Wallace. During a six-game stint with the Flash, the Celtics' affiliate in the Development League, he averaged 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds.
"I don't know what he's going to do or if another team will pick him up," Fredman said. "I e-mailed him to tell him to keep his head up.
"I'm going to talk to his agent at some point in time. I hope he'll want to come here. Certainly, we'd have interest. He played very well and worked hard."
On Wallace, Ainge said: "I like his future. If we had an injury or something right now, I'm just not sure he's the guy. I would probably go a different direction to replace one of our guys right now."
Marc J. Spears can be reached at email@example.com.