Allen had his game in gear
The Celtics put the Miami Heat on ice last night — and maybe for the rest of their first-round playoff series — with a 21-point run in the second quarter of last night’s 106-77 Boston victory in Game 2 at TD Garden. And that run might have been even more devastating had Ray Allen and Paul Pierce been able to figure out who should take an open 3-pointer midway through the quarter.
The mix-up resulted in a turnover, Pierce catching Allen’s pass, then looking down to see his heel over the sideline within a few feet of official Marc Davis. Pierce did not bother to wait for the whistle, simply flipping the ball to Davis and getting back on defense.
“I did not want to shoot,’’ Allen said of the sequence. “But I was trying to focus on making the extra pass. I know a lot of people want to see me shoot it but I like to see Paul shoot it, as well. Any time we can create a great rhythm, where we’re over-unselfish, it does bode well for us as a team.’’
Pierce and nearly everyone in the Garden expected Allen to attempt the transition shot. In fact, Pierce talked afterward about “being a spectator, just watching Ray knock down shots,’’ the classic ball-watching habit that is difficult to avoid when a teammate is shooting so well.
“He was [expecting the shot],’’ Allen said. “He was stepping out of bounds. We always say, sometimes with [Rajon] Rondo, you don’t know. Just be ready, he might look that way and throw it to you, so you kind of have to be ready. And, once I went up, I should have took the shot. But I knew Paul, once his guy came to me, he was open. Early in games, I’ve always thought that taking the easy shot, the uncontested shot, is the best shot. We have so much talent, so when we move that ball early, we always get open looks.’’
But the play hardly mattered. After that, both Allen and Pierce barely hesitated once they received the ball. The Heat played their part by leaving them open, especially in the third quarter.
Allen scored 17 of his 25 points in the third, converting five of six threes, a team playoff record. Allen previously hit four threes in a quarter in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers; Pierce did it against Philadelphia in ‘02; and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge did it against the Lakers in Game 5 of the 1987 Finals.
With Kevin Garnett suspended, Miami’s defensive scheme was simplified. The Heat were unconcerned about double-teaming on the post, so Allen was seldom open in the opening quarter — he did not take a shot until the second quarter, usually a sign he will struggle to find his shooting rhythm. But Allen got into the flow soon enough.
“The thing I noticed, that was awesome for me, that got us going, was Kendrick Perkins and Glen [Davis],’’ Allen said. “They played great. Defensively, they were where they were supposed to be every time, they gave great help — D-Wade didn’t see those gaps. And offensively, they made great plays. Early in the game, they got the ball down low and if they didn’t score they threw it back out and we got easy looks. So the ball was moving and we were able to get stops and we ran more. We just had a great rhythm throughout the game and it started early.’’