Allen still up to his old tricks in Heat uniform

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Allen still up to his old tricks in Heat uniform

MIAMI As much as Tuesday night's Boston-Miami game was about the Heat getting their championship bling for what they accomplished last season, it was just as much a coming out party of sorts for former Celtic Ray Allen with his new team.

Allen didn't disappoint his new fans in helping Miami kick off the new season with a 120-107 victory over the Celtics.

In a role similar to the one he had near the end of the season in Boston - coming off the bench - Allen had 19 points on Tuesday which included a handful of shot clock buzzer-beaters - a Ray Allen staple.

While the Heat certainly love what Ray can do as a player, the focus for many was on how Allen would interact with his former team; specifically Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

When Allen entered the game in the first quarter, Ray Allen made his way towards the Celtics bench - his first interaction with his former team since signing with the Miami Heat.

After a brief embrace with Doc Rivers and the C's assistant coaches, Allen tapped Garnett's shoulder - he was on the bench resting at that point - to which Garnett did not reply or even acknowledge the contact.

"You guys know KG. Did you expect him to react?" Allen told a large crowd after the game that included Boston-area media. "I don't take anything from it. Kevin is, he's an intense competitor. On the bench, he's in a different world, a different zone. The five years I played with him, you have to respect that."

Said Garnett: "Understand I am an intense person. Other than that, I drew a blank. I just saw the Heat (jersey) in front of him. Obviously he's on the other side. I just try to play the game, man."

And apparently so does Allen, who hurt the C's with many of the same big shots that he helped them win with during the past five seasons.

His first shot, as if it was part of a Hollywood script, was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner.

Allen would go on to hit a couple more buzzer-beaters for good measure.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was not only impressed with Allen's play, but even more so the poise he displayed in what was clearly an uncomfortable position to be in at the start of the season.

"I'm sure it had to be very emotional for him in terms of a lot of things that he was feeling," Spoelstra said. "We wanted to win this game for a lot of different reasons. We wanted to do it because it was ceremony night, but we talked about it, when we acquire new players they inherit everything that we've experienced, but we inherit also whatever they've experienced and we wanted to win for our brother."

But as much as Allen is at peace with his decision to be part of the Heat family, he at times found himself forgetting that he's no longer a Celtic.

"It was very strange," Allen said. "A couple times I would see somebody running down the floor, and I had to ask myself, 'who was I guarding? Which team was I guarding?' Because I'm looking at both jerseys and my inclination was to guard the Miami jersey but I caught myself."

Well, he caught himself most of the game.

"I think one time I gave Brandon Bass dap one time he was running down the floor. I had to catch myself," Allen said. "My brain right now has to be switched over."

Rivers was among the many Celtics to praise Allen for a solid performance.

"Ray was terrific," Rivers said. "He went (to his) right all game and we allowed him to, but he made a lot of shots."

Said Bass: "It was good seeing Ray. Ray Allen was a great player here (in Boston) and a great guy in the locker room.

That said, Bass added, "we wanted to beat him, but it didn't happen."

Rivers was surprised Allen was open from the corner the first time he checked into the game, of which Allen made them pay.
 
"You would think we would know better," Rivers said.

Allen knocking down shots is not a surprise.

That's kind of what you come to expect from a player who has made more three-pointers than anyone in NBA history, and has established himself as a virtual lock for the NBA Hall of Fame if Father Time ever catches up to him.

The unknown heading into the game had to deal with Allen's interactions with his old teammates.

"Regardless of how they feel, I have nothing but great things, warm sentiments going in their direction," Allen said. "You could be angry at me, but that's not going to change how I feel about you."

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.

 

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

At Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere event, tight end Rob Gronkowski was presented with the 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Gronkowski is the 14th player to have received the award that is named for the late Ron Burton. The first player the Patriots organization ever drafted, Burton was well-known for his charitable work.

“Ever since I’ve been here, following the Krafts, the whole Kraft family, from Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft, all his sons, seeing everyone lead by example, how they give back to the community every single week was just an honor to see,” said Gronkowski, “I just wanted to be a part of it and give back to the community in a positive way.”

Those who have received the award in the past include Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).

"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."

Gronk, never shy about cracking a joke, entertained the crowd like only he can.

“Who would have ever thought five years ago when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk that I’d be accepting this award?”