Allen 'rusty' in return


Allen 'rusty' in return

BOSTON Ray Allen didn't have the kind of triumphant return to the court that he and the Boston Celtics would have liked.

But in the C's 87-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, Allen once again showcased his value to the team despite having just five points on 2-for-6 shooting from the field.

In typical Ray Allen fashion, he nailed one of the biggest shots of the night, a 3-pointer with 39.8 seconds to play, that brought the C's within a point of tying the game up.

But there would be no sequel to his big shot, as the final shot of the game by the C's was taken by Paul Pierce whose jumper hit the back of the rim before rolling out as time expired.

Despite having not played in six games, Allen saw about 35 minutes of court time, which is about a minute more than his season average for minutes played (34.2) per game.

C's coach Doc Rivers didn't think Allen played bad, but did say he thought he was "rusty."

"He didn't get a lot of shots, which is fine by me," Rivers said. "Especially at the beginning of the game he didn't get any shots and our offense was rolling. So you don't worry about that. But overall pretty well."

"He's been out a while," said Rajon Rondo. "He's a veteran. He's come back before."

Still, his play won't be good enough to end the debate between whether he should remain with the starting unit, or whether his replacement while injured -- Avery Bradley -- should hold down the starting job full-time.

Bradley came off the bench and led the C's in scoring with 19 points.

"He's a pain in the ass," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, referring to Bradley. "The game starts and you know what he's going to do. He's going to cut from the corner to the bucket and lay it in. He's going to cut diagonally from the top. You've got to give him credit. He knows his role and he does it very, very well. He killed us all night long."

While Bradley had the better night statistically, it wasn't as if the C's were horrible with Allen in the game. In fact, he had a plusminus of plus-3 for the game. The only Celtics player with a higher plusminus ratio was Paul Pierce who was plus-4.

Although it wasn't one of Allen's better games, his teammates understand that it may take a little while for him to regain his top-shelf form after missing the last six games with a right ankle injury.

"It's tough when you take five, six games off," Pierce said. "You know sometimes the timing's off, sometimes a little bit of the conditioning. But he's going to work his way back slowly; he's a veteran and he knows what it takes. He had a huge shot for us down the stretch and we got to have him back for the stretch run. It's a tough run coming up here, these home and road games, and we need a little bit from everybody."

David Backes out at least 2 more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure


David Backes out at least 2 more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure

The Bruins look like they’ll be without gritty veteran forward David Backes for at least the next couple of games, and probably more like the next couple of weeks.

It was announced that the gritty Bruins forward underwent a procedure on Monday remove the olecranon bursa from his elbow, and that “his condition will be updated after the weekend.” The procedure is commonly performed when bursitis in the elbow becomes an untenable, and seems more like an injury that worsens over time rather than anything that happened in a particular game this season.

Backes’ effectiveness did seem to be impacted after he got into a fight with Nazem Kadri in the second game of the season in Toronto, but it’s unknown if there’s any connection between that sequence and the forward’s elbow issues. According to the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) website, it may take “10-14 days” for the skin to heal following the procedure, and three-to-four weeks before a doctor would clear the average person to resume normal activity.

The 32-year-old Backes is off to a good start for the Bruins with two goals and four points in five games prior to missing Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, and his absence makes an already-thin Bruins forward group smaller, softer and much less dangerous. With Backes on the shelf for at least the next two games against the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins have recalled young center Austin Czarnik after his short stint with the Providence Bruins.