Ainge: Allen is open to a return to Boston

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Ainge: Allen is open to a return to Boston

WALTHAM Ray Allen remains the lone question mark when it comes to whether or not the Celtics Big Three will be re-booted once again, now five editions in the books.

Whether there will be a version 6.0 hinges heavily on whether Allen returns.

Although Allen reportedly has "interest" in playing for the Miami Heat, he apparently has interest in returning to the only team he has won a title with, too.

Multiple league sources contacted this week indicated that Allen's "interest" in the Heat has been overblown.

"They will definitely be a player for him," one source said. "But you're talking about one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game who keeps himself in excellent shape. NBA execs all know he's only going to play for a team that can compete for a championship. So it makes sense for the champs (Heat) to have interest, and for him to have some interest in them as well."

Said another source, "He's too smart to commit to any team this early in the game. Ray's going to listen to what folks have to say, and go from there."

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has had conversations with Allen since the Celtics' season ended.

In describing those conversations, Ainge said they were, "Just sort of what his hopes and future are, what he thinks of our team, would he like to come back, all those type of things."

Ainge, who said that the two have not had any contract-specific discussions, added, "I think Ray's open to coming back. I won't get into details . . . we've talked so I have a feel for where his head is."

Apparently Ainge must have been comfortable with what Allen had to say.

"On July 1, we'll talk more to Ray (about a possible return)," Ainge said.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers feels comfortable with Ainge doing whatever he deems necessary to make the C's a better team.

But Rivers has been steady in his preference that the Celtics bring back Allen in addition to the team's top priority, Kevin Garnett.

When asked about reports that indicated the NBA champion Miami Heat were interested in Allen, Rivers responded, "I think you'll hear that and probably 10 other teams. If they don't have interest in him, then they're crazy. But we have interest, too."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

BOSTON – The New York Knicks have been in a massive funk of late, something the Boston Celtics had to know which, not surprisingly, would result in them playing with a heightened level of desperation.

That desperation left the Celtics a bit exasperated at the half which ended with a 10-2 run by New York that put them ahead 63-54 at the half.

After falling behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter, the Celtics rallied to within a single point (53-52) following a basket by Isaiah Thomas.

The second quarter was all-New York afterwards.

It was just a one-possession game (Boston led 34-31) for the Celtics going into the second quarter, which was exactly where Boston didn’t want to be against a Knicks team whose bench ranks among the NBA’s highest-scoring second units recently. In their last three games, the Knicks’ bench has averaged 43.0 points per game which according to hoopsstats.com, ranks sixth in the NBA during that span.

At the half, they had 33 points compared to just 12 for Boston’s backups.

Boston fell behind early 9-5, but the Celtics rallied following a time-out with a 15-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas.

The Celtics’ lead peaked at nine points on separate occasions in the first, but the Knicks closed out the first with a 12-6 spurt that cut Boston’s lead to 34-31 at the end of the first.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Derrick Rose

The former league MVP looked like his old self tonight instead of just old. He led the Knicks with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

The Knicks had great success inside the paint against all the Celtics minus Thomas who did much of his dirty work offensively on drives to the basket. At the half he had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

 

STUDS

Willy Hernangomez

Boston had problems rebounding the ball, and Hernangomez was the main reason why. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds, three of which were offensive boards.

Jae Crowder

Dealing with Carmelo Anthony is enough to keep Crowder busy tonight. But he’s doing that at a high level in addition to providing a nice punch offensively with 14 points.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

You may not know his name, but his game was pretty impressive in the first half. At the half, he had nine points.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

We’ve seen him air-ball a 3-pointer, miss a lay-up and strguggle to get any shots to go down tonight. At the half, he had three points while missing nine of his 10 shot attempts.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists.