Celtics

Allen at a loss to explain drop in production

191544.jpg

Allen at a loss to explain drop in production

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - If the solution was obvious, Ray Allen would have changed things by now.

He knows his shot attempts have dropped late in the season, but as for why, he still trying to figure it out.

There is a checklist of possibilities to consider. Theres the fact that the Celtics are still trying to gel with their new players; other teammates are taking more shots; Allen is dribbling more than he has in the past (Doc Rivers' theory); Allen feels the ball movement among the team has changed.

Whether its all of the above or none at all, Allen and the Celtics have six games left in the regular season to adapt.

The main objective is to win, Allen said. If I have a couple of games where I dont touch the ball or score, I just try to find other ways to be effective. Being efficient for me is the ultimate key, but I know I have to be out there and I have to have an impact. So I just try to figure it out from one game to the next, how you can get the shots you need.

Allens shot attempts decreased from 14.4 per game in February to 11.5 in March. As a result, his scoring dropped from 18.4 points to 15.1 points from month to month.

Coming into Sundays game against the Pistons, he was averaging 9.4 attempts over his last five contests. He wound up with 13 in the Celts' 101-90 win over Detroit.

The Celtics want Allen to be involved in their offense. As they near the postseason, they know how much of a contributor he can be on the floor. Despite his recent struggles, he's still the teams second-highest scorer with 16.8 points per game.

Kevin Garnett made a conscious effort on Sunday night to Allen touches against the Detroit Pistons.

Allen attempted just three field goals through the first three quarters of the Celtics' win. He hit a stride in the fourth, when he shot a perfect three-for-three from the field.

Hes going to be huge for us, Garnett said of Allen in the playoffs. I think I took it upon myself to get him some looks, just knowing the past couple of games, him not having a rhythm, trying to establish him a rhythm going into these last couple games we have and then on to the playoffs. Hes going to be huge for us as to whether we win or whether we dont win.

Doc Rivers wants his team to keep things simple. Hes not delving for deeper answers, just looking at the Xs and Os of basketball.

Rays just struggling because hes struggling. Its not the ball movement, Rivers told CSNNE.com. I just want Ray to make shots, thats it. We dont have to make it complicated.

Allens goal is to find his rhythm without disrupting the Celtics. He isnt going to address the issue with his teammates or complain about his shots. After 15 years in the league, he looks to himself to improve his own game, even if it is without having the ball in his hands.

Said Allen, Youve got to think about it from the context of the team and how what Im doing affects the team. If I need to score more to help the team win, if I need to do something else to help the team win . . . thats how I look at it.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

BOSTON – The words of Stephen Curry following the Celtics’ 92-88 win over his Golden State Warriors had an off-handed, end-of-the-night throwaway feel to them, a statement that would soon be forgotten after the Warriors reel off what should be a long string of victories going forward.
 
“They’re playing the best right now in the East,” Curry said of the Celtics, who now have a 3-2 edge in their past five meetings following Thursday night’s thriller. “And obviously until they beat Cleveland, who's done it three years in a row … so we’ll see.”

CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88

We already have, folks.
 
The Celtics and the Warriors are both quick to remind us all that we are only a month into the season and that there’s still lots of basketball to be played.
 
But the big takeaway from Thursday was that the Celtics’ ascension to the top of the NBA mountain is a matter of when, not if, it’ll happen.
 
Because what we’re seeing now is a team that is very much a work in progress, yet one that still manages to win games on a lot of nights that they have no business winning.
 
Think about it.
 
They shot 32.9 percent against the Warriors, the best team in the NBA, and still managed to get the win. According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, it was only the second time in the past 35 years that the Celtics shot less than 33 percent from the field and still managed to win.
 
That speaks to how well Boston defended the Warriors, who came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game.
 
But more than that, it shows this team has a will to win that’s almost unheard of for a group whose pieces are so relatively new to one another.
 
Of the 14 Celtics with guaranteed contracts on the roster, all but four are in their first season in Boston.
 
But even with the new guys coming together quicker than anticipated, Boston should not all of a sudden be considered the favorites in the NBA.
 
Even with the victory, Boston still has some ground to make up if they are to be on the same level as Golden State, a franchise that has been to the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons and has emerged a champion twice.
 
“It takes a lot of basketball to get there,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “They have a good, young, hungry team. You have to give them credit. They have a better record than us, so you can say they’re better now.”
 
And while Thompson didn’t place an emphasis on it, the last word in his comments, “now,” is why Thursday’s victory leaves the Celtics cautiously optimistic.
 
Because as we’ve seen time and time, regular-season success does not always travel well beyond that and into the playoffs.
 
Still, Thursday’s win provides something for Boston beyond hope and optimism.
 
They now have results to go with the work they’ve put in to be a better team and compete with the league’s best.
 
And they’ve done it under less-than-ideal circumstances.
 
Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury less than five minutes into the season and he’s expected to be lost for the rest of the season. Al Horford missed two games while recovering from a concussion while Kyrie Irving missed a game after suffering a facial fracture.
 
So in other words, the Big Three that Boston was set on unleashing to the rest of the world has logged less than five minutes together all season.
 
And yet there are the Celtics (14-2), tops in the NBA while riding a historic 14-game winning streak, and there's reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, these two will be the last teams standing when all is said and done and some of those customary throwaway lines uttered by Curry might have some value after all if these two wind up meeting in the NBA Finals.

“I hear the weather is great here in June,” Curry said.
 
 

Brown leads C's to victory just a day after best friend's passing

Brown leads C's to victory just a day after best friend's passing

BOSTON – The NBA is an emotional game, but the feelings Jaylen Brown was working through on the eve of Thursday’s game against Golden State, are the kind you don’t wish anyone with the death of his best friend less than 24 hours before Thursday night’s tip-off.

Brown channeled his pain into a performance that was absolutely vital to Boston pulling off the biggest upset for them this season, a 92-88 win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

He led the Celtics with a team-high 22 points in the win which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 14 straight. 

But he was in no mood to celebrate afterwards.

CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88

“My best friend (Trevin Steede) passed last night,” Brown said after the game. “It was tough to accept it. Everybody was kind of in shock. I knew coming in today, he would want me to play.

Brown paused, and added, “It’s hard to get my thoughts together. After talking to his mom and family, they inspired me to come out. I wasn’t in any shape to come out. I didn’t want to leave my room. They inspired me to come out and play and I came out and played in his spirit today.”

Indeed, Brown played with the kind of purpose that made it clear that this wasn’t just another game. 

Sure, Golden State was the defending champs but Brown’s temperament seemed to be on a level higher, much higher, than what you would come to expect from a highly-anticipated matchup. 

His teammates as well as the coaching staff were aware of what Brown was dealing with, and were prepared for him to not play if he decided that was the best thing for him. 

After the game, Kyrie Irving gave the game ball to Brown.

“I knew from start of the game, I gave him some great words that were given to me,” Irving said. “I’ve lost individuals in my life. It’s never a good thing when someone is going through it. You do your best to encourage them, to console them. But at the end of the day, it’s about the strength within themselves and he showed a lot of that tonight.”

Irving added, “to be able to go out and perform the way he did, I knew exactly who the game ball was going to.”

Dealing with this kind of adversity unfortunately is nothing new to the Boston Celtics. 

On the eve of the playoffs last season, ex-Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas’ younger sister Chyna Thomas died in a car accident. 

Just as they rallied around Thomas at that time, the Celtics have done the same for Brown. 

“It’s been a tough 24 hours for him as you call can imagine,” said coach Brad Stevens. “Very similar meetings and talking points I had with Isaiah (Thomas) last year, today. Like Isaiah used it as a distraction, he (Brown) went out there and played and was really, really good.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE