Allen hitting his stride again
LOS ANGELES — Amid the carnage — Kendrick Perkins’s wounded knee, Rajon Rondo’s lacerated chin, and their team’s collective drubbing — one man appeared to remain standing.
A revived Ray Allen returned to form last night as the Celtics otherwise slipped into a premature slumber.
Back at the scene of his historic shooting performance in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Allen regained his 3-point touch and led the Celtics with 19 points as the Lakers pancaked the Green, 89-67, in Game 6 at the sold-out Staples Center.
Funny thing, Allen seems to be as comfortable on Jack Nicholson’s home court as the “Chinatown’’ man himself. Ten days after he struck for 32 points, including a Finals-record eight threes, at the intersection of Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, Allen rebounded from an 0-for-18 shooting drought from behind the arc by hitting 2 of his 5 3-point attempts and shooting 7 for 14 overall.
In three games at Staples Center, Allen is shooting 50 percent from the field (21 of 42) and 56 percent on 3-point attempts (10 for 18 ).
At the Garden, his three-game totals were 26.5 percent overall (9 for 34) and nada (0 for 16) from behind the arc.
He attributed the difference to conditioning.
“I think my legs are where they need to be right now,’’ Allen said. “I think for a couple of games I was hindered a little bit, so I’ve been working on getting that strength back.’’
It hardly helped, of course, that Allen went all but sleepless Saturday night as he rushed his son, Walker, to the hospital at 1:30 a.m. and stayed there with him as he was treated for juvenile diabetes. But Allen already had missed 12 consecutive 3-point attempts in Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden before the incident. And he missed all four treys he shot Sunday in Game 5.
He has averaged 20 points over the first 22 playoff games of Boston’s championship quest, though his average has slipped closer to 15 points in the Finals.
If the Celtics need Allen’s best in Game 7, how will he respond?
“Well, it’s not really just me,’’ he said. “Obviously, the team does feed off me when I’m shooting the ball well, but it’s time for all of us to step up and play well together. We haven’t seen that ultimately all the way yet.’’
Allen could help the cause, he acknowledged, by attacking the basket more often. So could teammates.
“We all have to do a better job of helping each other score, make the easier play,’’ he said. “A couple of layups for either one of us allows us to develop a great rhythm. Getting to the free throw line, I think we’ve got to do a better job of it, to take the pressure off of shooting the long ball.’’
Other than Allen, the Celtics shot only 3 for 18 (16.7 percent) on 3-point attempts amid their lowest-scoring effort in a Finals game in franchise history. Allen ended his personal 0-for-18 streak when he hit a 26-footer with 7:36 left in the first quarter.
By the end of the quarter, he had 8 points and Paul Pierce 6, accounting for all but 4 of the team’s total as the Lakers seized a 28-18 lead and never looked back.
“We just put us in such a hole early,’’ Allen said. “You know, it affects our bench. We didn’t give them any great rhythm, any great chemistry. We talked about our defense and how we allowed so many points, but I think it stemmed a lot from our offense because we didn’t make the extra pass. Each individual tried to make the home run play early.’’
So now time is short for Allen and his mates. One game to play, tomorrow night for the championship.
“This here is for all the marbles,’’ he said. “We’ve been a team that’s operated well with our backs against the wall, and everybody knows what’s at stake and everybody knows what they need to do . . . and I believe everybody will go do that.’’
Bob Hohler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.