Allen looks good in return to Celtics


Allen looks good in return to Celtics

BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett praised him. Doc Rivers praised him. Ray Allen had a hot hand. Yet in his return from missing four games with an ankle injury, Allen found it difficult to be happy about his individual performance.

In spite of his 22 points, the Celtics lost by one point to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It doesnt matter individually what I did out there, he said following the Celtics 88-87 loss. Just being on the sideline watching these guys play well and play hard and win games, I want to be part of that, the winning. So its like I need to do more. Really what I do, it doesnt really seem like it really makes a difference. Long term it does, but right now when you lose thats all that matters.

Always concerned about the teams end result, Allen focused more on the final outcome than his stat line. He missed an uncontested layup with under two minutes to go, a rare occurrence from the offensively sharp veteran.

But others were not as hard on him.

Allen shot 9-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, in just under 36 minutes.

Ray looked good, said Doc Rivers. He looked fresh. 9-for-14, in some ways you look at the stats, he was probably our most efficient player. He missed the big lay-up down the stretch and got some, I thought he gave up some middle drives and some base-line drives that creates those offensive rebounds that we talk about. Those are things we have to get better at. But overall, I couldnt have been happier with his play.

Allen wanted to play on Friday night against the Indiana Pacers, but after warming up before the game he realized he wasnt healthy enough. His patience paid off. He continued to work out on the AlterG Treadmill and tried to fit in as much rest as he could following the birth of his fourth son last week.

I obviously wouldnt have come out on the floor if I had felt like I was not 100 percent, he said. I dont want to be looking bad out on the floor. I know I have to do what I have to do to be good for this team and I have to trust that they can do their jobs well. I believe since Ive been out that theyve done a great job, just watching from the sidelines.

"So I wouldnt come out if I felt I was going to be, maybe not 100 percent, but if I was below a certain percentage, I would have sat this one out. I got my looks, I took them, I tried to be more aggressive in certain situations but tried not to do too much.

Even though they didn't get the win, the Celtics were still happy to have Allen back on the court.

"Classic Ray," said Garnett. "He gave us a spark. He looked fluid, energized. Looked like he hasnt slept in days but its typical of a new father of a new child. I thought he brought us a lot of energy, though."

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

FOXBORO -- There are a lot of things in Josh Augusta’s past in football that makes him an intriguing player as the undrafted defensive tackle enters his pro career. Among them: a high-school career as a 320-pound receiver and fullback reps in college. 

Also in his past: About 50 pounds. 

That’s how much weight the Missouri product says he has lost since the end of last season, when he began slimming down from 390 pounds to where he is now with the Patriots. 

How did he do it? Cutting out pizza, for one. 

“I cut out all the fast food, late-night eating, cut out all that,” Augusta said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. 

There were ample reasons to lose the weight. He’s had asthma all his life and has also dealt with sleep apnea and a thyroid condition in recent years. He wanted to be able to not only move better, but breathe better. 

Now in the 340s as he nears what he previously set as a 335-pound target weight, Augusta’s body is getting closer to what it was when he arrived at Missouri. 

“I feel faster. My breathing’s getting better, just because I lost the weight,” he said. “Just stay on track and hopefully everything still goes right.”

For Augusta, everything going right would entail him enjoying a long NFL career. For all the potential versatility with Augusta -- he says he could still see himself playing some fullback for the Pats if they wanted -- there was little surprise when he went undrafted given that he was not a consistent starter throughout his college career, which he finished as a second-stringer. There were also questions of his stamina, which he feels the weight loss has helped.

Yet the Patriots have done plenty with works in progress, particularly ones who can be used in multiple spots. As he looks to shape his professional career, Augusta thinks New England is the best-case scenario. 

“I feel great here,” he said. “I know I know I’m in good hands, just because of the history they have.” 

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Listen to Phil Perry’s interview with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who has funneled his college players — James White, Trey Flowers, and others — to the Patriots in this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.