Celtics praise Allen; Curry calls him 'greatest shooter ever'

Celtics praise Allen; Curry calls him 'greatest shooter ever'

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Ray Allen hasn’t played since 2014, so in the minds of many the 10-year all-star had already retired.
The 41-year-old Allen made it official on Tuesday with a “Letter to Myself” published by the Player’s Tribune. Naturally, the news drew immediate reactions from several current and former Celtics.

Rajon Rondo unsentimental about Allen's retirement

When ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo was initially asked about Allen’s retirement, he said, “Ray who?”
Rondo, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls, told reporters on Tuesday, “I thought he’d been retired. Oh, he had a hell of career.”
A 10-time all-star, Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,973) while scoring 24,505 points. One of this generation’s most clutch shooters in the playoffs, Allen won NBA titles in both Boston and Miami and is a Hall of Fame lock.
Because he has not played since 2014, Allen is eligible to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2019.
“As one of the greatest shooting guards in the history of basketball, Ray Allen defined the word professionalism,” Danny Ainge said in a statement released by the Celtics. “Ray was born with special talent, but it was his leadership, tireless preparation, and infectious work ethic that made him a great teammate and champion. We would not have won the 2008 title without him.”
Pagliuca added, “Ray was a key member of the Big Three who helped drive us to Banner 17. He is one of the best shooters and clutch players in NBA history, and we were fortunate to be able to witness his magic on the parquet. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Allen’s knack for 3-point shooting and its value has helped create a generation of long-range shooters who see him as the Godfather of sorts of 3-point shooting.
“I’m far from what he was,” said Jae Crowder. “He inspired a lot of people and I’m one of those guys.”
So is Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas who grew up in Tacoma, Washington when Allen played for the Seattle Supersonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder).
“I used to go to one or two games a year, my dad used to take me,” Thomas said. “So I’ve seen Ray when he had hair. I’ve seen when he was wearing all the nice Jordans (sneakers), everything; Jesus Shuttlesworth.”
In 1998, Allen starred in the Spike Lee film, "He Got Game" as a promising high school basketball star named Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Allen was more than just a great shooter in the NBA. His tireless work ethic and attention to staying in peak physical shape well into his late-30s, set him apart from most NBA players.
But those workouts, the tireless hours spent in the gym and at arenas three and four hours ahead of tip-off, are a thing of the past now.
Jesus Shuttlesworth has called it a career, leaving an undeniable imprint on the NBA and future generations of 3-point shooters.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the man who seems poised to shatter most if not all of Allen’s 3-point shooting marks, congratulated the future Hall of Famer via Twitter on Tuesday.
Thomas echoed similar sentiments about Allen.
“He’s a Hall of Famer, one the greatest shooters ever,” Thomas said. “It was great for me to see him at a young age.”

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”