Allen taking his shot at being the decoy
PHILADELPHIA - Ray Allen’s reputation has caught up with him. The 76ers paid special attention to Allen in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, limiting him to one field goal attempt - a first-half layup.
“I think about what I’ve been able to do in this league over the course of my career,’’ Allen said before Game 4 Friday night. “To be able to be regarded as one of the greatest shooters of all time, now it’s at a point where it hurts me because no one wants me to take a shot. I appreciate that respect from opponents, players, coaches - fans always wonder how I got open.’’
Allen became a glorified - and effective - decoy as the Celtics won, 107-91, Wednesday night.
“To be able to use that in a game, in a playoff situation, is a huge weapon,’’ Allen said. “I’m always ready to take the shot and make the shot. But I know being out there does change the complexity of how teams play defense. It helps with cutting, pick-and-roll coverages. There’s a lot of things we have to do to help this team win.
“It can be frustrating because you want to get in and you want to get involved. But the ultimate objective here is for us to win games and move on.’’
Coach Doc Rivers said he tried to recruit Reggie Miller to perform a similar role.
“Ray Allen on the floor means somebody’s open,’’ Rivers said. “I kid with Reggie Miller that we can you use on the floor - today.
“Ray stands in the corner, someone is going to stand next to him. That allows us to drive to his side. That’s what we did a lot [in Game 3] because no one’s going to help.’’
Said Allen, “I don’t have to change anything that happened from last game. The way they guarded me, us as a team - the final score was the result we were all hoping for.’’
Allen has had only one other game in which he attempted just one field goal, as a Seattle SuperSonic in a game against Orlando in 2006, when he and current teammate Keyon Dooling were ejected following a second-quarter tussle.
“We’ve got to make sure nobody gets in a scuffle with him, so he doesn’t just shoot one shot,’’ Dooling said.
Dooling has become a leader among the second unit, according to Rivers.
“It’s key, amazing,’’ Rivers said. “The best bench I think we’ve ever had was in ’08, with [Brian Scalabrine] and [James] Posey. You need your bench to have great spirit, to come in and play a role. And you also need them to tell the starters the truth. And [Dooling] lays it on them. We had that then and now, if the starters aren’t playing well, they’re going to hear it from Keyon.
“And they accept it, which is important. I think his play has allowed him to talk more. When you defend the way he’s defending you can pretty much say what you want.’’
Said Dooling, “I want the best for them. A lot of times I’m echoing the messages the coaches are giving them and a lot of the time I can give it to them in a way maybe they accept it more. Doc’s such a competent coach. You see something you can tell him and he’ll listen to you. A lot of times he may not do what you say, but it’s a very comfortable situation.’’
Rivers gave the team Thursday off, but he said the veterans worked out.
“When we don’t practice, guys still work on their games,’’ Rivers said.
“Kevin [Garnett] was over here shooting. Especially the veterans, more than the young guys, understand what they need to do to keep in rhythm. Young guys don’t understand what gets them in rhythm.
“Ray is running somewhere, on the street, he’s on a bike. Paul [Pierce] was on the treadmill at the hotel. Kevin is a creature of habit, he reminds me of Patrick Ewing. Days off were bad for him even though he needed them, because of rhythm.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.