|Ray Allen (23 points) whoops it up for good reason - the Celtics guard's 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left sank the Sixers. (Tim Shaffer/Reuters)|
Allen's winner leaves his coach starstruck
PHILADELPHIA - Ray Allen's last-second 3-pointer in the Celtics' 100-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last night might have earned him an All-Star call. Allen, who converted two threes in the final 31 seconds, is a candidate to replace Orlando's Jameer Nelson (torn shoulder labrum) in the Feb. 15 event in Phoenix.
"I think he's an All-Star," coach Doc Rivers said. "Paul [ Pierce] gave the passes up both times, and that's why we win games, because our guys play together.
"We didn't panic, in the timeout, when there was three-something [minutes] left. I said, 'Guys, we have a ton of time left, we just have to take it one at a time, we can't get frustrated, just hang in there.' "
Last year, Allen was named to the All-Star team as an injury replacement and scored 28 points in the game.
"I'd rather Jameer Nelson were playing," said Rivers, "but if you're going to add somebody else, I think that last shot should have cinched it."
Allen is becoming accustomed to being a replacement choice.
"The last two years, I've been a replacement," he said. "The All-Star Game, I'd never turn that down. Every guy that plays in the NBA can play in the All-Star Game. You take a pool of 400-plus guys and 24 guys make it.
"Any time I've been announced as a replacement, I've always stepped up. Being called as a replacement doesn't taint the situation at all. Every player in the NBA wants to be an All-Star."
Allen had been considered doubtful for last night's game because of flu symptoms, but made a rapid recovery during the day. He felt chills, was tired and weak, and also had a nosebleed. But after a steamy shower and nap before the game, he decided to play.
"Kevin is feeling better," Rivers said. "I doubt we'll practice as a team, but we'll do something with him [today] just to get his wind back.
"Kevin is our facilitator a lot of times on offense, so it changes our offense - we are going to have to run more and stretch the floor more. But we were not very good defensively [in a win over Minnesota Sunday], and that had nothing to do with Kevin. We're a better defensive team than that; we just chose not to be a good defensive team the other night. He smells things out that 75 percent of the league can't, and that makes you a better defensive team - that's his value."
The Celtics were also without Brian Scalabrine (concussion), who missed his fourth game in succession. Guard Tony Allen, who was questionable with flu symptoms, also recovered and played 14 minutes.
"What I was concerned with was we didn't take him out in the second half and he's not the model of health," Rivers said. "So I was really worried about his conditioning. I asked him with about five minutes [left] how he felt and he said, 'I feel great.' "
Said Davis, "We have a great player out right now, so I am just playing as much as I can to help the team out. I was just thinking about winning the game - I didn't realize how many minutes I played until after the game was over and I sat down and I said, 'Wow, that's a long time.'
"If I've got to play 50 minutes or 100 minutes, I'll play."
Davis set a pick on Thaddeus Young to help set up Allen for the deciding shot.
"I was just trying to get in his way as much as possible," Davis said. "I didn't want to get a moving screen. I just wanted to go out and execute the play as best as possible, and thank God, I'm wide enough and I got a piece of him and slowed him down a little bit and Ray hit the jump shot."