Allen focuses on world issues

Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / December 30, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY - On the Celtics' team bus Friday, basketball wasn't the main topic. Conversation among the players centered around Thursday's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

"We talked about that a little bit," guard Ray Allen said. "There are some extremists over there in the Middle East.

"It's hard for me to talk about it. We don't know exactly the ins and outs of what is going on to be assassinated. She wanted democracy in her country. And there are a lot of people who don't want democracy in the Middle East and that's apparent with the US trying to go out there and place democracy on that region after they've lived [differently] for hundreds of years.

"It just seems like it's an unstable union right now. It's going to take a lot of change from the people within. I think people reject the United States because of where we are coming from, from the outside looking in, we're almost making things more unstable, it seems."

Allen keeps up with world news by watching television, but added that it is a challenge understanding world politics.

He believes Bhutto was killed by the gunman that shot into her car and doesn't buy the Pakistan government's theory that she died after hitting her head on the sunroof of her car during the suicide attack.

Allen said he and his father, a former Air Force mechanic, were going to visit United States military personnel in Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago with a group from the NBA, but concerned family members convinced them not to go for safety reasons.

Wearing a Red tie
The Lakers' Phil Jackson tied Red Auerbach for seventh on the all-time NBA coaching victories list at 938 with the Lakers' 123-109 win Friday night over Utah.

Jackson could pass the Celtics legend with a victory over Boston at the Staples Center tonight.

The Celtics defeated the Lakers, 107-94, in Boston on Nov. 23.

"It's a great record. Phil is a great coach," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "But we are just going to try to extend that for one more game."

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "Phil's a great coach. You can't take that away from him. It's the Celtics.

"We want to beat them. We don't want them to win anything. They're the Lakers." That's the way we look at it. We'd love to spoil anything for them."

Jazz acquire Korver
The Jazz acquired shooter Kyle Korver from the Sixers yesterday for disgruntled guard Gordan Giricek and a first-round draft pick. Korver, who didn't play in last night's 104-98 Celtics victory, averaged 10 points in 25 games with the 76ers this season. Giricek, who averaged 4.3 points in 22 games for the Jazz, fell out of the playing rotation and didn't see eye to eye with longtime Utah coach Jerry Sloan. "It's a great trade for Utah," Rivers said. "It's not like Giricek can't play" . . . Rivers visited with legendary college coach Eddie Sutton after the game. Sutton came out of retirement Wednesday to coach the University of San Francisco and is two wins shy of 800 for his career. Sutton coached guard Tony Allen at Oklahoma State. "I love him," Rivers said. "I got to meet him first through Tony. And then we do a camp every summer, the [Michael] Jordan camp, and I get to spend some time with him. He's one of my favorite people in the world." . . . NBA TV will air nine hours of programming dedicated to classic Celtics-Lakers games leading up to tonight's contest.

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