Allen performing a balancing act
Ray Allen appears to have recovered from a slow start, partly due to a right ankle injury, in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
In Game 1, Allen shot 1 for 7 from the field and 3 for 7 from the foul line. In the next three games, Allen’s totals have been 15 for 35 on field goals and 1 for 1 on free throws (he shot a technical in Game 2). Allen scored 16 points in 46 minutes, also defending against Dwyane Wade, in the Celtics’ 93-91 overtime win over Miami in Game 4 Sunday night at TD Garden.
“I just think he’s more comfortable with what’s going on with his ankle,’’ coach Doc Rivers said of Allen before the game. “So, I guess that would be a difference. I think he’s kind of figured out the balance issue, I think he’s shooting it quicker with better balance.’’
Strength in reserve
Celtic reserves Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, and Mickael Pietrus have played key roles in the Celtics’ two victories this series.
Daniels produced 9 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes of a 101-91 win over the Heat in Game 3 Friday, and gave a clutch defensive performance in overtime in Game 4. Daniels played 17 minutes in Game 3 and 15 minutes in Game 4 after playing sparingly this postseason.
Dooling had 10 points in 16 minutes and Pietrus drew LeBronJames’s sixth foul and grabbed two offensive rebounds in overtime in Game 4.
Garnett answers bell
Kevin Garnett had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots in 43 minutes.
“First half, his defense, he was a single-man zone,’’ Rivers said of Garnett. “He was amazing and then he did it again in overtime. He knew we had a kind of mismatch lineup. His talk, his leadership - I know a lot of other players get votes for defensive player of the year, I don’t think he gets enough credit for our team defense. He talks, the way he directs out there, he’s a linebacker.
“We, in my opinion, have yet to play a 48-minute game, we still have that in us. We’ve played a couple big quarters here and there, great half tonight, great overtime, but we’ve yet to put a 48-minute game together, I really believe that, I believe we can play better - for sure.’’
Captain Paul Pierce, playing with a knee sprain, entered shooting 39.9 percent in the playoffs and 34.5 percent in three games against the Heat. He had 23 points in Game 4 on 8-for-18 shooting in 39 minutes, adding six rebounds and two steals.
“He’s clearly playing better,’’ Rivers said. “You can see he’s moving faster, even he’s though not shooting a high percentage in this series. But he’s had great shots, and the last two games especially, he’s had terrific shots. He’s getting to the elbow, his little pull-up shot. At the end of the day that’s all you can ask for.
“I’m sure guarding LeBron, and he’s guarded LeBron for the bulk of the minutes on the floor, my guess is that has probably taken a little bit out of his offense.’’
A Celtics source confirmed that the club will spend a portion of its training camp next season in Istanbul and Milan, playing against European teams as part of the NBA Live Tour 2012. The Celtics will play Fenerbahce Ulker of Istanbul and then will travel to Milan to play Emporio Armani in early October. The dates are tentative and are expected to be confirmed following the Celtics’ postseason run.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.