Allen moving on after tough outing in Philly

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Allen moving on after tough outing in Philly

PHILADELPHIA Throughout Ray Allen's brilliant career, we have seen him do some pretty amazing, hard-to-forget things on the basketball court.

But for one night, Allen had the kind of night that Celtics Nation and Allen himself would just as soon forget about quickly.

While Wednesday's 32-point loss at Philadelphia was indeed a team-wide pummeling on every level imaginable, few had it as rough as the C's sharpshooter.

Allen only had two points on the night, which included him missing all five of his shots from the field.

It was only the seventh time in Allen's career (his fourth with the C's) that he went without a made basket in a game.

"I don't think I was ever in the flow of the offense," Allen said. "Offensively, we just didn't have a flow. I was just a victim of a bad offensive flow."

Even when the C's have had nights with a good flow offensively, it hasn't always included Allen's firepower from the perimeter.

It's no secret that he remains near the top of most scouting reports on the Celtics. The result has been a lot of games in which he rarely touches the ball, but that doesn't mean he's not involved.

In the C's win over the New York Knicks on Sunday, they were determined to make sure someone stayed with him, stride for stride, all game. So that led to him being more of a screen-setter, doing the kind of things that others have for years done to free him up.

Allen understands doing those little things, is part of what he has to do to help the team win if the defense prevents him from getting good, clean looks at the basket.

"Some teams, I don't know if you want to say box-and-one, but they do whatever they can to just commit one guy to me and don't allow him to help," Allen said. "I've seen it. It seems frustrating at times, but I have faith in my guys to get it done."

While Allen is certainly disappointed in not making a single basket against the Sixers, he's not about to over-react to the situation, either.

Allen's play has been instrumental in Boston's post-All Star break success.

His numbers (17.5 points, 51.1 percent shooting from the field) following the break and leading into Wednesday's game, have been impressive.

That's why he and the Celtics are chalking up what happened against the Sixers as just one of those nights when nothing goes right.

"I'll just continue doing what I do," Allen said. "I'll prepare the same. When you find your spots, you have to take advantage of them."

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

According to multiple reports, Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract with the Clippers, making him a free agent. 

Griffin is considered one of the top free agents in a class that will also include Utah’s Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have been reported as possible suitors for both players. 

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, the 28-year-old Griffin is a five-time All-Star, though injuries have limited him over the last three seasons. 

Over 61 games, the 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Between numerous injuries and a suspension for hitting a member of the Clippers’ equipment staff, Griffin was limited to just 31 games in the 2015-16 season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski said recently that Boston’s reception for Clippers teammate Paul Pierce made a very strong impression on Griffin. Though there might not necessarily be a connection between the two, Griffin said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that Boston is on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities.