Allen gets 'passing' grade in Celtics win

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Allen gets 'passing' grade in Celtics win

CLEVELAND Ray Allen is the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. But that's not why Allen has been among the league's top players for the bulk of his career.

Yes, the 3-point shot is indeed Allen's weapon of choice. But he can hurt teams in other ways as well, which he proved time and time again Tuesday night in Boston's 93-90 win over Cleveland.

Allen had 12 points, which included a couple of 3-pointers. He also racked up a season-high eight assists - something the Cavaliers probably didn't bank on having to deal with.

Coach Doc Rivers spoke with Allen before the game and told him that the shots he's used to taking probably wouldn't be there.

"Tonight is going to be your 'pass night,' " Rivers recalled telling Allen. "Kudos to Ray; he just kept moving the ball."

And more often than not, it was to a teammate open for a lay-up, dunk or a jumper.

With Rajon Rondo (wrist) still out, most of the play-making duties fell upon the shoulders of Paul Pierce. On Tuesday, that load was a bit more evenly distributed.

"Ray really helps out in that department, so all the pressure (to facilitate the offense) isn't on me," said Pierce, who had 20 points and six assists. "I can really focus in on scoring the ball a little more. I don't mind it, but it takes pressure off me, having that kind of player out there."

Most teams, and with good reason, worry most about Allen's 3-point shooting. But for guys like Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who used to compete against him for years, they understand that Allen is more than just a spot-up, 3-point shooter.

"We probably need Ray to make more plays, because he can," Garnett said. "He's been on teams where he led teams, and he's had to facilitate and then also be the man to hit big shots. So he knows how to do that. We have a lot of confidence in him doing that."

Still, that won't stop teams from trying to lock in on Allen's shooting prowess as the key to limiting his effectiveness.

And while Allen has shown at times that he still has the ability to break defenses down and make plays off the dribble, Allen - like most of the veterans on this Celtics team - understands that he has a clear role with this team.

"Systematically, what we do on a daily basis, it's just not there," Allen said. "As much as my aggressiveness, my aggressive nature is always going to still be present, I have to pick and choose those moments when I can (be more of a facilitator). For the most part, for this offense, my best attribute is to create space so these guys can operate and I can pull the defense out a little more.

Allen added, "It's not always about shooting the 3. It's getting to your mid-range game . . . I can get to the hoop. I try to focus on that more than just being a spot-up shooter because getting around, it just adds so much more of a dimension to what we do offensively."

Celtics engaged in talks with Pacers for Paul George

Celtics engaged in talks with Pacers for Paul George

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum was all smiles after hearing his named called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the number 3 pick by Boston in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

And as he made his way towards the commissioner and put on the customary Celtics hat, a bright future surely awaited him.

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But is it going to be in Boston?

CSNNE.com confirmed an earlier report by Yahoo Sports! the Vertical that the Celtics were indeed engaged in trade talks with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is no stranger to taking chances that most GMs would not consider or take a pass on.

Trading for George, who informed the Pacers that he would not re-sign a long-term deal with them and would instead prefer to play for the Los Angeles Lakers when he hits free agency in the summer of 2018, is a huge risk.

While the particulars of the possible trade are still being discussed, Boston will likely have to include the number three pick – Jayson Tatum – in a deal for George.

Ainge appears willing to gamble that a season in Boston will be enough to convince George to re-sign a long-term deal in the summer of 2018 which would be a win-win in terms of bolstering their chances to compete with Cleveland for Eastern Conference supremacy, and keep him away from the Lakers.

Jayson Tatum: Coach K was effusive in praise of Brad Stevens

Jayson Tatum: Coach K was effusive in praise of Brad Stevens

Celtics draft pick Jayson Tatum will go from one highly regarded coach to another, and he said shortly after being drafted that Mike Krzyzewski had nothing but good things to say about Brad Stevens. 

Tatum said Coach K’s praise for Stevens came after the Celtics traded the first overall pick, thus establishing they would not be selecting Markelle Fultz. 

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“He called me and talked about that Boston was wanting me to come up there for a workout. He was just ranting about how great of a person Brad Stevens is, and [that] Coach K would love the opportunity if they would pick me and he really wanted me to go up there and work out for them,” Tatum said. “I was all for it. It worked out. I had a great time up there on my visit and obviously they enjoyed me.”

Krzyzewski and Stevens coached against each other in the 2010 national championship, which Duke won by two points when Gordon Hayward’s potential game-winning half-court shot nearly went in, but hit the rim. Hayward and Stevens could be reunited this offseason given that the veteran forward will be a free agent.

Tatum spent one year at Duke, averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.