Allen gave it his best shot
He keeps fighting despite ankle pain
MIAMI - Ray Allen recovered from a dismal Game 1 performance to score 13 points, including the tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime in the Celtics’ 115-111 loss to Heat Wednesday night.
“He’s a warrior, he’s going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep believing in him,’’ Paul Pierce said. “He’s been in these moments and, you know, you get a great player in these moments, you never can count him out and he’s that player.’’
Allen resumed his game-day routine, arriving at AmericanAirlines Arena at 10:15 a.m. for shooting drills.
“You always try to find opportunities to get up more shots, kind of get your legs underneath you,’’ Allen said before the game. I had an opportunity to rest on off days, [but] at some point I’ve got to put my body through some type of regular shooting.
“I’m on a team with great players. It’s frustrating because I like to have a great impact out there. I never give up on myself and this team never gives up on me, so we always have opportunities to find other ways to win. That’s what we’ve done here, so I’m trying to figure out ways to help this team win - spot up, take the ball to the hole, whatever they need.’’
Said coach Doc Rivers: “You want to give Ray a chance every game because he’s going to do everything required,’’ Rivers said. “Ray is a tough, determined individual. He’s Ray Allen because that’s what he does - he’ll come early and do some shooting. Ray wants to play well and he’s not going to let anything else be a reason why he doesn’t.
“We don’t know . . . you don’t know what right prescription is. We told him don’t shoot, don’t do anything. Well, that doesn’t work because he’s a great shooter. So, we told him just do your routine, if that doesn’t work we’ll do something else.’’
Pierce is optimistic about the Celtics’ chances in Game 3 Friday at TD Garden.
“We’ve just got understand what’s beating us right now,’’ Pierce said. “Terrific defense, I mean we played terrific defense in the half court. But, then, they get the offensive rebound, the kickout for the threes, you’ve got to eliminate those things right there - that’s demoralizing when you play hard defense for so long for them to get those plays. So, we’ve got to make it a one-possession, get the rebound, get the ball out. But if we continue to play with that effort, play with that passion, I really like our chances.’’
Said Rivers: “We played extremely hard. I told the team I thought we played with great heart and didn’t think we played smart all time. And there are things we can absolutely fix, and we’ll do that and we’ll be ready for Friday.’’
LeBron James’s 32-point output in Game 1 was his lowest total in his last four playoff games against the Celtics, dating to last year. He came back with 34 Wednesday night but Rivers has been most impressed with James’s defense.
“I think where LeBron has graduated, or grown, over the last two years is his knowledge of the other teams,’’ Rivers said. “He’s prepared.
“I look at LeBron in Cleveland and I look at LeBron in Miami, I think he is so much more prepared game plan-wise. And I noticed that last year - and it happened again this year - when we call out a play, you can hear him calling out a play, yelling at guys where to go.
“He’s pretty much in tune, and that means he’s doing a lot of studying of the books.’’
The Celtics’ lack of offense in the paint was costly in Game 1, according to Rivers.
“Some were rushed, some were bad shots,’’ Rivers said of Celtic drives. “We’re flipping balls up over our head, trying circus shots - those never work.
“The problem with Miami, a missed layup is a transition basket for them. One thing we have to do is, if we go to the basket, we have to convert. We showed them on film every missed layup, it absolutely started a break. We just cannot miss layups.’’
Rivers said the Heat utilize quickness to defend.
“They protect the rim with their bodies,’’ Rivers said. “They’re quick, they get to the launching pad, it’s the way they’ve always been.
Allen on the Celtics’ offense: “We can’t get stuck. The ball ends up sticking on one side. We have to get that ball hopping. Even if you don’t have the pick-and-roll, just move the defense around and attack. We played real perimeter-ish. We had shots we normally make. We’ve still got to make it easy on ourselves by getting easy baskets.’’ . . . Asked about the 2007 NBA draft lottery, Rivers replied: “I don’t remember 2007.’’ Reminded about the Celtics situation, Rivers said, “I think at the time we, obviously, were hoping to get No. 1. We knew we probably wouldn’t, and thank goodness we didn’t. It all worked out for us.’’ Portland took Greg Oden with the top pick. The Celtics chose Jeff Green at No. 5 but traded him to Seattle as part of the deal to acquire Allen.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.