Allen emphasizes conditioning early


Allen emphasizes conditioning early

WALTHAM -- Ray Allen is used to being the first one at the arenas on game days, and that mentality did not waiver this extended offseason.

Allen has become accustomed to starting training camp in late September, so when that time rolled around and the NBA was still in the middle of its lockout, he found his own way to prepare for the season.

I was getting up every morning going to the gym and begging people to let me in the gym and shoot, he said after practice on Sunday. I was shooting in different gyms in my neighborhood, going to the health club in my neighborhood every day.

In spite of all the hours Allen clocked in the gym, shots he put up, and miles he ran, it doesnt compare to the strain placed on his body when he is playing the game. Hes feeling it early on in training camp, but he doesnt mind it in the beginning stages.

I could run all day long on the treadmill or run outside or do different things, but basketball is such a different dynamic for anybodys body being in that position and then having other guys leaning on you throughout the whole time and getting to your spot and being able to shoot and score, he said. You could do it but you do feel fatigue. It wears on you over time, so I like to put myself in that situation to try to let those muscles feel it and get that fatigue and then kind of fight through it, and thats how I get over it.

Allen, 36, has been through enough training camps to understand the benefit of conditioning early on in the season. He wants his entire team to make it a priority in these first weeks.

"The last couple of weeks has been a disadvantage to the players and we put ourselves in this situation, so all we have to do now is handle the situation, making sure guys that are here are on the floor, putting themselves in the best position to get in the best shape they can possibly get in, he said. One of the things Ive known most of my career is that early in the season, you tend to miss shots, you get tired, mentally you make mistakes in the fourth quarter, so whatever we can do to improve our conditioning early. Its important for all of us.

One factor that Allen believes will benefit the Celtics during this condensed season head coach Doc Rivers, who saw the effects of the previous NBA lockout. With so many veteran players on the team, Allen says Rivers will be able to manage their playing time to keep them ready for the postseason.

I think more important is just having a coach thats been around and understands it because you know how not to push your guys and you know what to expect, he said. You remember how guys bodies felt the last time, and we talked to guys about that. I think we have one stretch in April, March we have so many games, we kind of know what its going to be like in advance. So whatever you can do now to build up that equity early so you know going into that, you know your bodies good and you didnt do anything stupid schedule-wise with games.

While Allen is happy to be back on the court getting ready for the season, there are a few people who could miss him being around the local gyms for those early morning workouts.

I ended up turning into a strength coach at some point. Im working some of my wifes friends out, he said. I got to the point where they probably looked around the corner and said, Is Ray here? OK good, I can work out.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.