Allen still a defensive minded player


Allen still a defensive minded player

BOSTON -- On Sunday afternoon Tony Allen returned to the TD Garden, the place where he established himself as one of the NBAs toughest defenders during six years with the Boston Celtics. While the Memphis Grizzlies guard was a late scratch (hip, knee) from the match up against the former team, he discussed how he made gritty D the cornerstone of his game ever since his time with the Cs.

When I was over here, that was the only way that I could get on the court, Allen told prior to the Celtics 98-80 win. I couldnt come out here and jack up 20 shots knowing Paul Pierce is alongside of me. So I had to do what Paul Pierce wasnt doing -- he wasnt defending as well as I was, he wasnt diving for the 5050 loose balls as well I was, he wasnt hitting the offensive glass as hard as I was. Doc saw that and I was able to get on the court.

Allen was utilized as a defensive-stopper on the Celtics and was critical in several postseason battles, including the 2008 championship run. Since joining the Grizzlies last season, he has thrived in his increased role in the young teams rotation. This season Allen ranks 12th in the league in steals (1.8 per game) .

He just keeps getting better and better, Doc Rivers said following practice on Saturday. Hes playing more minutes, number one, which helps, that he didnt play behind Ray (Allen) and Paul. That helps. But hes just grown up. His defense hasnt changed, its just gotten the notice that it should have gotten when he was here.

Hes a dominant defensive player, hes not a good defensive player. Hes an absolutely dominant player at a position that is very tough to be dominant at with the way the rules are now. You cant touch, you cant breathe on anybody at the guard spots, yet Tony still is effective at guarding people, and thats rare in our league right now.

Allen is sticking to his routine of studying game tape to learn his opponents tendencies. He credits the Grizzlies video editor for compiling DVDs which he takes home to scout his upcoming competition and anticipate their plan of attack.

Now in this eighth season, it is a commitment he has made to the future of his career.

Im a birth from (former Oklahoma State head coach) Eddie Sutton and Ive been groomed through Doc Rivers, so those are defensive-minded guys, he said. Its instilled in me and Im going to carry it with me until the world blows up.

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan


Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.