Allen still hobbling, availability uncertain
WALTHAM - Ray Allen was in uniform and going through his pre-practice shooting routine Friday morning, but before the rest of the Celtics appeared for warm-ups, he departed and was not scheduled to return for the workout.
Coach Doc Rivers said Allen (right ankle) “may give it a go’’ Saturday and estimated the veteran guard’s chances at playing in the playoff opener in Atlanta Sunday as “60 percent.’’
“His rhythm is not going to be good,’’ Rivers said. “He hasn’t played in two weeks. He’s been running on the space machine [AlterG], but he hasn’t even run on the floor.
“If he’s ready to play, we’re going to play him. Whether he has rhythm or can make shots, the game will dictate that. Our guys will dictate that. But I’d like to see him on the floor because, like I said, rhythm or no rhythm, if I tell Ray to stand in the corner, someone’s going to stand next to him. And that creates spacing for us.’’
Allen has been out since playing 35 minutes in the Celtics’ 115-107 April 10 win in Miami. Allen, at 36 the oldest player on the Celtics’ roster, took on a bench role April 5 as Avery Bradley, at 21 the youngest Celtic, joined the starting lineup.
“I think he’s extremely frustrated,’’ Rivers said of Allen. “He wants to go for it this year and his body’s not cooperating. For him, he’s done everything right. He came in camp in the best shape of anybody, broke a record on the treadmill. And now his foot is hurting him. And he can’t do anything about it, so that bums him out.
“These things mean so much to them, because they’ve got one, two chances the rest of their careers and you don’t want to blow it. They know the clock’s ticking. But the body is the final decider.’’
Allen shot a career-high 45.3 percent on 3-pointers in his 46 games, averaging 14.2 points, his lowest scoring average since 1996-97, his first season in the league.
Captain Paul Pierce (sprained toe) played 6:41 in the Celtics’ 87-74 win over Milwaukee Thursday, but was set to practice Friday.
“It’s doing pretty good, just got stiff on me [Thursday],’’ Pierce said. “I was able to come back in. It feels pretty good right now. I don’t see it as being a really big concern.’’
Rivers on Kevin Garnett’s role: “Kevin has to be aggressive. The series we’ve won over the years he’s been aggressive and a go-to scorer. And he has to be that in this series - not just shoot the ball, he has to create scoring for us.’’
Garnett is not underestimating the Hawks.
“This Atlanta team is a very exciting team, athletic, a better team since we’ve seen them, a mature team,’’ Garnett said. “They’re coming together as a team, they have a lot of confidence in themselves. [Al] Horford’s coming back or he’s practicing, at least active, so they’re feeling about themselves. And it’s a team we have to reckon with.’’
Quick to help
Rajon Rondo became the first Celtic to lead the league in assists per game (11.7 per game) since Bob Cousy, who was the league leader from 1952-53 through 1959-60.
“Any time you’re mentioned with Cousy, it’s a pretty special day,’’ Rivers said. “Cousy or [Larry] Bird or Magic[Johnson] or [Michael] Jordan probably means you’ve done something special.’’
Said Rondo: “It means a lot. Cousy has always had great things to say about me. I would be honored if he could present me with a ball - if I get one.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.