BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett praised him. Doc Rivers praised him. Ray Allen had a hot hand. Yet in his return from missing four games with an ankle injury, Allen found it difficult to be happy about his individual performance.
In spite of his 22 points, the Celtics lost by one point to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It doesnt matter individually what I did out there, he said following the Celtics 88-87 loss. Just being on the sideline watching these guys play well and play hard and win games, I want to be part of that, the winning. So its like I need to do more. Really what I do, it doesnt really seem like it really makes a difference. Long term it does, but right now when you lose thats all that matters.
Always concerned about the teams end result, Allen focused more on the final outcome than his stat line. He missed an uncontested layup with under two minutes to go, a rare occurrence from the offensively sharp veteran.
But others were not as hard on him.
Allen shot 9-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, in just under 36 minutes.
Ray looked good, said Doc Rivers. He looked fresh. 9-for-14, in some ways you look at the stats, he was probably our most efficient player. He missed the big lay-up down the stretch and got some, I thought he gave up some middle drives and some base-line drives that creates those offensive rebounds that we talk about. Those are things we have to get better at. But overall, I couldnt have been happier with his play.
Allen wanted to play on Friday night against the Indiana Pacers, but after warming up before the game he realized he wasnt healthy enough. His patience paid off. He continued to work out on the AlterG Treadmill and tried to fit in as much rest as he could following the birth of his fourth son last week.
I obviously wouldnt have come out on the floor if I had felt like I was not 100 percent, he said. I dont want to be looking bad out on the floor. I know I have to do what I have to do to be good for this team and I have to trust that they can do their jobs well. I believe since Ive been out that theyve done a great job, just watching from the sidelines.
"So I wouldnt come out if I felt I was going to be, maybe not 100 percent, but if I was below a certain percentage, I would have sat this one out. I got my looks, I took them, I tried to be more aggressive in certain situations but tried not to do too much.
Even though they didn't get the win, the Celtics were still happy to have Allen back on the court.
"Classic Ray," said Garnett. "He gave us a spark. He looked fluid, energized. Looked like he hasnt slept in days but its typical of a new father of a new child. I thought he brought us a lot of energy, though."