Opponents: Celtics are 'missing Ray'

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Opponents: Celtics are 'missing Ray'

The Boston Celtics had little interest in discussing former teammate Ray Allen at the start of this season. Some players politely wished him the best after he signed with the Miami Heat last summer. Kevin Garnett noted he no longer had Allens phone number. Rajon Rondo referred to him as Number 20.
Allen will return to the TD Garden on Sunday for the first time as a member of the Heat. He will face a Celtics team struggling to establish consistency and currently ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference (20-21).
Even though the Celtics have focused on looking forward this season, opponents have noticed a difference in the team without Allen on the floor:
Rip Hamilton (Chicago Bulls)Theyre different. When you go into the game, you know with him, hes coming off curls, hes coming off pindowns. He really spaces the floor for Paul Pierce to go ahead and to what he do, for KG Kevin Garnett to do what he do. It was a guy that you never ever could not guard.
Ramon Sessions (Charlotte Bobcats)You can definitely tell they look different. They just play a little different without him out there. When he comes in, he kind of solidifies that second unit. I think they brought in JT Jason Terry to fill that role. He kind of started off to a slow start but I think once it gets deeper into the season, being a veteran, hell kind of take over that role. You definitely defend them differently any time Rays not out on the court because Ray is a pure shooter and they ran a lot of sets for him with that second unit. Its definitely a different vibe and a different feel with that second unit now that hes not out there. They still play the same way, I think. Of course in the back of their minds, they probably miss him a little bit because hes a guy that can hit big shots. But I think JT will step in and fill that void.
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls)Its going to be difficult. Ray Allen takes so much attention and he gets guys shots. He made a big difference for them. You could always replace everyone. Its just, how do you do it? Its not going to be one guy. Dont think that youre going to bring one guy in and hes going to just fill in the shoes. It takes a team effort and a team goes in a different direction, whether its Paul Pierce or Kevin or Rajon Rondo who are scoring more. I think people fall into, This guys gone, so this guy has to be that guy. Its never like that. Every individual is different. Thats why every time you get a superstar in the NBA, people want to compare the new player to him and its never the same because everyone is so different, our fingerprints are different. Youre just not going to get the same thing.
Marcin Gortat (Phoenix Suns)Obviously theyre missing their sharpshooter, but still, theyve got so much talent. Theyve got so many guys that can shoot the ball, they still run a great system, theyve still got KG whos running the whole defense, they have Rajon Rondo who can distribute the ball so well. So I dont think theres a huge drop off from Ray Allen. Obviously the team would be better if he would have stayed, but right now theyre still pretty good.
Tony Allen (Memphis Grizzlies)Thats a Hall of Fame kind of guy. So that right there just lets you know, theyre missing Ray. Period, point blank. Theyre missing Ray.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.