Tony Allen: 'I don't see the same team from 2008'

Tony Allen: 'I don't see the same team from 2008'
January 3, 2013, 6:49 am
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BOSTON -- Tony Allen reached behind himself and pulled out a folded number 42 Boston Celtics jersey from his stall in the Memphis Grizzlies visiting locker room at the TD Garden. The lower corner of the white uniform from the 2010 NBA playoffs was speckled in dark red.
"It's one of my jerseys they had," Allen said proudly. "It kind of almost brought me to tears today, but I had to hide it a little bit. There's blood on it, so you know I was scrapping with it."
Scrapping. It was part of Allen's all-out mentality he and the rest of the Boston Celtics embodied during their title runs, winning it all in 2008 and falling just short two years later in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Three seasons later, Allen was seated in a victorious Grizzlies locker room on Wednesday night. He scored 15 points to help hand the Celtics a 93-83 loss, dropping them to 14-17.
Allen has never doubted the drive of his former team.
"You can never test the heart of a champion," he noted.
But with only Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo remaining from the 2008 title group, he also saw a different squad than the one he lifted the trophy with on the parquet.
The teams Allen played on had the type of depth that doesn't come together every season. From gritty perimeter defenders to sharpshooters to intimidating bigs in the middle, there were x-factors that jumped out to him.
"They're missing a lot of pieces," he said. "Obviously you've got a lot of guys that have fulfilled those roles, such as J-Terry (Jason Terry) in substitution of Ray (Allen). They've got one (defensive-minded guy), (Avery Bradley), but I can't really say that he's a hundred percent just yet. (Bradley returned from double-shoulder surgery against the Grizzlies.) I don't think they've got the center like Perk (Kendrick Perkins). It's kind of hard finding a guy like that, a guy who clogs up the paint, talks trash to you, and actually backs it up. But they're just missing a lot and I don't see the same team from 2008."
Allen believes a key to the Celtics success will be role players stepping up in doing whatever it takes to win. While the 2008 squad was headlined by future Hall of Famers, it was the entire team that pushed them to victory.
"They're missing a lot of their key pieces that they had," he said. "Those guys have to try to find a way because those other guys aren't here anymore, so once somebody steps up to those roles and holds themselves accountable and be those guys they're missing, that's when you'll get back to it."
"Boston has shown so many ways to win," he continued. "You take the year that we didn't get (James) Posey back. That following year, they put me in that position and we went all the way to Game 7. We lose Perk in the NBA Finals (and we almost won).
"Boston knows how to win."