Allen emphasizes conditioning early

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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.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Rockets in Houston. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Earlier this month the Boston Celtics took a season-high 42 three-pointers in a game which raised a few eyebrows. 

And you know what?

No one would be surprised if the Celtics (12-8) surpassed that total tonight when they face the Houston Rockets who have set the pace when it comes to launching 3-point bombs in the NBA this season with 37.0 attempts per game. 

The Celtics aren’t too far behind, averaging 30.8 three-pointers which ranks fifth in the NBA.

But what makes these two teams so unique is that in addition to taking a lot of 3s, they also rank among the NBA’s leaders when it comes to knocking them down. 

The Rockets (13-7) make an NBA-high 14.0 three-pointers per game while the Celtics are fifth in the league with 11.1 made 3s per game. 

And the key to that stat is that both teams shoot a surprisingly high percentage from 3-point range as well. 

Houston’s 37.8 percent from 3-point range is the fifth-best mark in the NBA while the Celtics shoot 36.0 percent on 3's which ranks 10th in the league. 

So what does all this 3-ball shooting mean? 

It means get your popcorn ready for what should be one of the more exciting, high-scoring games on the Boston Celtics’ schedule this season.

Here are some other key stats to keep tabs on during tonight’s game. 

 

FIRST QUARTER SCORING

There is no team in the NBA better at jumping on you from the outset, then Houston. They lead the NBA in first-quarter scoring with 31.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent in the quarter which is also tops in the NBA. But there’s a downside to their first quarter success. Houston’s first quarter defense is pretty bad, ranking 27th in the league in first-quarter points allowed (28.5) while allowing teams to shoot a league-worst 52.3 percent from the field in the game’s first 12 minutes. 

 

FOURTH QUARTER SCORING

As impressive as Houston is to start games, the Boston Celtics are just as dominant offensively in the fourth quarter. Boston averages a league-best 29.1 points per game in the fourth compared to the Rockets whose 24.4 points in the fourth ranks 21st in the NBA. Boston’s strong finish to games is aided by a defense that seems to save its best work for the fourth quarter. Opponents are shooting just 40.6 percent against the Celtics in the fourth which ranks as the third-best fourth quarter defense in the NBA.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUND PERCENTAGE

Boston’s struggles on the boards are well documented which includes - but is certainly not limited to - offensive rebounding. The Rockets will present a major problem to Boston when it comes to trying to avoid Houston getting second and third-shot opportunities. The Rockets rank fifth in the NBA in second-chance points (15.3) per game while the Celtics’ defense allows 15.2 second-chance points which ranks 27th in the league. And Boston’s offensive rebounding percentage for opponents ranks dead-last in the NBA at .265.

 

BALL MOVEMENT

Both teams rank among the league leaders in assists per game with Boston’s 24.4 assists per game average No. 2 in the NBA and Houston’s 24.3 assists ranks fourth. But more telling is how the Celtics rely more heavily on keeping the ball moving, more so than the Rockets. You see this in Boston averaging 329.2 passes per game which ranks third in the NBA while the Rockets’ 273.5 passes per game average is 29th in the league. Still, Houston’s passing game is to be respected especially when you consider the lofty assists numbers they’ve racked up in addition to them getting 59.2 points created via the assist according to nba.com/stats

 

TURNOVERS

These two are at opposite ends of the basketball world when it comes to turnovers. Boston commits 12.3 per game which is the fourth-fewest committed in the NBA while the Rockets are turning the ball over 16.1 times per game and that ranks 27th in the league. And these two remain widely far apart in the fourth quarter which is when the Celtics turn the ball over a league-low 2.2 times per game in the fourth while Houston turns the ball more than twice as much (4.5) which ranks 29th in the league.