Allen on target as well-oiled Celtics thump Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Ray Allen shook off a month of uncertainty about his perimeter game and returned to form last night against the Bobcats. After jokingly pondering whether every NBA rim needed to be oiled, Allen flicked his 3-pointer with confidence, canning a season-high-tying five as the Celtics enjoyed a laugher.
An anticipated rugged matchup against a streaking Charlotte club never materialized as the Celtics raced to an early double-digit lead and cruised to a 108-90 win at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Allen finished with a season-high 27 points and drained four first-half 3-pointers after going 10 for 41 from behind the arc in his previous 10 games.
He swished one from deep in the corner near the Celtics bench with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first half for a 23-point lead and Boston was never threatened the rest of the way.
Allen kidded earlier yesterday whether the league’s rusty rims were causing his shooting slump.
“I oiled them, you didn’t know?’’ he said with a laugh. “I put some baby oil on the rim. I told you earlier that I am just going to have to put it in, to swish the ball instead of letting it mess around on that rim. It’s really all a body thing, just getting your legs up, going in the air and just being consistent.’’
Celtics coach Doc Rivers feared Charlotte, which had its four-game winning streak snapped, would use its 6-foot-8-inch duo of Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace to post up Allen and Paul Pierce. But the chess game between Rivers and Charlotte coach Larry Brown didn’t develop.
Rivers said his team was focused from the beginning. Brown said his squad never competed.
“We weren’t doing anything offensively with any sense of urgency,’’ Brown said.
Jackson scored just 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting and Wallace scored 5 in 28 minutes. Kendrick Perkins, who left Jermaine O’Neal dragging with his dominant post play Sunday in Miami, was sparkling against Tyson Chandler, finishing with 21 points - 15 in the first half - and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes.
“Perk was tremendous,’’ Rivers said. “It’s confidence. We’re getting him the ball. We’re getting him in his spots. He’s got great catches and he’s taking his time now.’’
Boston led by 28 when Eddie House drained a 3-pointer with 10:19 left in the game (96-68) and not even a 15-2 Charlotte run could make this game suspenseful in the latter stages. It was a welcome breather for a Boston club that came off an emotional win against Miami and faces San Antonio and Oklahoma City on back-to-back nights beginning tomorrow.
Kevin Garnett tallied 16 points in just 26 minutes despite foul trouble and got into an altercation with Nazr Mohammed late in the first half. Garnett was called for an offensive foul he didn’t agree with and the two began jawing. Mohammed charged Garnett, who raised his arms to avoid physical contact. Mohammed was called for a technical, and that was the most emotional Charlotte was all night.
The Bobcats (7-10) were hoping to at least compete with Boston to show their fan base they are on the rise. But an announced crowd of 15,129 was mute most of the evening, except for the Celtics’ family section.
“I hope everyone is embarrassed,’’ Wallace said. “I wouldn’t come back after a game like this [if I was a fan]. Even Doc Rivers had 12 points.’’
The Celtics limited Charlotte to 41 percent shooting, including 31 percent in the first half. Boston’s plan was to force the Bobcats into one-on-one perimeter play and avoid post-ups from their sizeable starting five. Rivers said four of their five players - save Raymond Felton - could post up effectively, especially Jackson and Wallace.
But those two never exploited the size advantage over Allen and Pierce. Jackson appeared content to fire 20-footers and Wallace took two early first-half shots - missed both - and wasn’t an offensive factor.
The first-half result was a 62-39 lead, perhaps Boston’s most complete half of basketball this season. This game was reminiscent of Boston’s four-game early-season swing when it outscored Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia by a total of 102 points.
“At home we had gotten in the habit of getting off to slow starts and battling back and winning some of them and losing some of them,’’ Rivers said. “Right now, we realize how tough it is to win on the road and we have great focus.’’