Allen looks good in return to Celtics


Allen looks good in return to Celtics

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."

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively. 
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose. 
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters. 
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring. 
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game. 
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.

Avery Bradley

Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.

Jaylen Brown

Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
D.J. Augustin

He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half. 
Terry Rozier

This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
Nikola Vucevic

It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. 

Orlando second half defense

The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. 

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other. 

Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.

Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."

The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.

"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."

Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.

Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.

"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.

"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."