Wobbly Allen remains off balance
MIAMI - Ray Allen has been struggling with lateral movement because of bone chips in his right ankle. But Allen had difficulty standing still in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, going 3 for 7 at the foul line in the Celtics’ 93-79 loss to the Heat Monday night.
“I’m just trying to find my balance,’’ said Allen, who shot 1 of 7 from the floor and had 6 points. “I feel good over it, I’m just not in a great rhythm right now. I just know I don’t have good timing right now.
“The shot feels fine. If it’s short, I know that I do have less lift on it. I just take it day by day, trying to figure out what I’m dealing with. I do have restrictions. That’s why we have a great team here, why we have each other.
“I believe you guys know what I’m dealing with. It’s nothing really to talk about. It’s like a battle within myself, I have to try to win. It’s a daily situation I have to deal with. This is the time I need to be out here to help the team win. When the season’s over with, I’ll have to deal with what I have to deal with myself personally. Right now, it’s the playoffs and you play.’’
On what loss means: “Nothing. It doesn’t mean anything. They just beat us one game.’’
Coach Doc Rivers said, “I don’t think we’ll ever see that again,’’ of Allen’s four missed free throws.
“I don’t know for Ray if it’s fatigue. It may be something else. He got a bunch of wide open shots and with him it’s just balance. When you have a bad foot, ankle, or anything, your balance is off and you can see it on Ray. The ball is going left a lot. He’s one of the greatest shooters of all time. Ray is going to try to figure it out. We’re going to try to figure it out. We’re going to try to figure out a way of even maybe subbing him differently to keep him strong.’’
Before the game, Rivers said Allen was about to be replaced just before converting a key 3-pointer in the final quarter of the Celtics’ 85-75 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday night.
Allen was 1 for 9 from the field before hitting two 3-pointers late in the game.
Kevin Garnett called for the Celtics to up their intensity in Game 2.
Garnett on the difference between the Celtics’ play in the first and second halves: “They got more layups, man - we can’t beat this team by giving them layups - thought they did a real good job being aggressive, getting to the basket. I thought the first half we did a decent job, second half they just got what they wanted. We need to be more disciplined in our defense and believe in it.
“This is not our best basketball - I believe we have better basketball in us, and in order for us to stay alive, we’ve got to play better. And we will.
“Whether it was breakdowns, whether we weren’t in our spots, whether the scheme didn’t work, or whatever it was, we’ve got to put up more of a fight and more of an effort.’’
Asked about Miami showboating late in the game, Garnett replied: “It’s all good, now - they’re home, they’re comfortable and when you’re comfortable you do things like that. We got to make sure we take them out of their comfort zone and fight a little harder.’’
Monday’s contest was the 80th game the Celtics have played since the regular-season began Dec. 25.
“I tell them it’s a regular-season game, but it’s the playoffs,’’ Rivers said. “That’s what it is. We had one day off, instead of thinking of it as not being ready, tired - we play games like this all the time and we come out and play better. And that’s how we have to approach it.”
Rivers on the absence of Miami’s Chris Bosh: “If Bosh played or didn’t play, I don’t think it was going to change the way we’re playing, you know what I mean? We’re going to go to [Garnett] - we’re going to go to him if Bosh played, we’re going to go to him if Bosh didn’t play. But it may change the way they defend him, that’s something we have to be prepared for. I’m sure they’re going to front him, that’s the way they’ve played.’’
But, for the Celtics, there are pluses and minuses with Bosh out, Rivers said.
“Bosh, in some ways, makes them better,’’ Rivers said. “In some ways, you can say they’re more dangerous [without] Bosh, because those 15-20 shots Bosh had, now they’re going to LeBron [James] and [Dwyane] Wade. In some ways, they have the ball more, they’re more aggressive. It almost activated them to be more aggressive, which puts a lot of stress on your defense.
“Chris is a terrific player. It changes them, it has to a little bit. It changes you but it shouldn’t make you worse. We’ve always looked at it - with all the guys we’re missing, it shouldn’t make us worse, it just should make you different.’’
Rivers on the Celtics’ ability to recover from injuries: “We don’t care. We feel bad when someone goes out, but somebody else steps up, sometimes guys have to play more minutes, we change rotations, sometimes on the fly. It’d be one thing if it just started happening - we’ve been going through it all year, starting with Jeff Green. Every once in a while you go through a year like that. It’s different with this team. They haven’t allowed it to affect them - they don’t care, they just go out and play, and believe they can win no matter what.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.