Allen's struggle at free-throw line highlight ankle issue

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Allen's struggle at free-throw line highlight ankle issue

BOSTON -- Ray Allen entered the playoffs having missed just nine free throws in 106 attempts during the regular season, shooting an impressive 91.5 percent.

When he missed two free throws in his Game 3 return from an ankle injury, eyebrows were raised.

When he missed another two in Game 5, heads were scratched.

And when he shot four-for-six from the line in a deciding Game 6, it became clear there were lingering effects from the injury that previously sidelined him for 11 straight games.

I missed two free throws the last couple games and that to me is what my ultimate sign of comfort is, Allen said prior to Game 6 on Thursday. When I get to the free-throw line, your body settles in. Getting back to my ultimate comfortability is when I get to the free-throw line and youre kind of like a machine, so thats still what Im trying to go back to.

For Allen, making free throws is just as much about rhythm as it is about the release. Being sidelined prevented him from establishing the rhythm he thrives off of on the court.

Allen said his ankle was swollen on Wednesday and he was walking on it a little funny. After playing over 26 minutes in the Celtics' Game 6 win (7 points, 1-for-7 3PG, 4-for-6 FT, 5 rebounds), he said his ankle was bothering him more so than in previous games during the series.

I didnt have the confidence on it. he said. Right now its bothering me but I have a day tomorrow to deal with it.

The Celtics have one day to prepare for Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. That doesnt leave Allen with a significant break to rest his ankle, but he is looking to push through the challenges as he did in the first round.

My rhythm is still a little suspect but Im still working on it, he said. Im still working on it. Every day is a new day and I always love the challenge.

Brown fires up Celtics teammates with tomahawk dunk over Vucevic

Brown fires up Celtics teammates with tomahawk dunk over Vucevic

Well it appears that Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic wasn’t the only one who didn’t see Jaylen Brown’s powerful dunk over him coming. 
 
Apparently, Brown didn’t see it coming either. 
 
“It caught me off-guard,” Brown said after Boston’s 117-87 thumping of the Magic. “I wasn’t even expecting it. It happens. It’s part of basketball. It’s two points.”
 
The play in question came early in the second quarter when Brown blew past Jodie Meeks into the lane and took off towards the rim. 
 
Vucevic jumped late, got dunked on and the Celtics bench went bananas!
 
“It gave our team a lot of energy,” Brown acknowledged.
 
Brown understands part of his job in coming off the bench is to make an impact with effort. 
 
And in doing so, he senses that his teammate’s confidence him in and his game can only grow.
 
“I feel like my teammates are trusting me more, getting more trust from the coaching staff,” said Brown who finished with 13 points. 
 
Avery Bradley likes what he’s seen from Brown, a young player who has shown tremendous promise. 
 
And that dunk over Vucevic?
 
“You’re going to see a lot more of those in his career,” Bradley said. “He gets us going.”

Brown and Rozier seize opportunity, provide spark off Celtics bench

Brown and Rozier seize opportunity, provide spark off Celtics bench

There was Terry Rozier, delivering dizzying crossover dribbles that set up open jumpers, soon followed by defenders he then beat to the rim for easy scores. 
 
“I felt like I was in college a little bit,” Rozier told reporters Wednesday night. 
 
The second-year guard is a long way from his days at Louisville, but make no mistake about it.
 
His basketball education is ongoing, but on Wednesday it was Rozier and rookie Jaylen Brown teaching the Orlando Magic a lesson as Boston pulled away for a 117-87 victory.
 
Playing without Isaiah Thomas (right groin), Rozier came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. 
 
And Brown, whose hustle and above-the-rim play energized the Celtics most of the night, had 13 points which included a powerful, poster-worthy dunk over an unsuspecting Nikola Vucevic. 

"I didn't expect to dunk, nor did I expect him to jump," Brown told reporters after the game. "When it happened, I was just as surprised as everyone else."
 
The Celtics (13-9) were pleased with the victory which included contributions from several players. 
 
But there was added pleasure for the veteran Celtics in watching their youthful teammates step up and play well.
 
“It’s hard as a young player to come in and find yourself on a team,” Boston’s Al Horford told reporters after the win. “And those guys are really hard workers. As the season goes on, they’ll become more comfortable with what we’re trying to do.”
 
We have seen Brown put in positions where he was given an opportunity to make a major impact. 
 
His first NBA start came against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 
 
Boston lost 128-122 to the Cavs, but Brown had a career-high 19 points, five rebounds and three steals. 
 
Brown said when he’s on the floor with Rozier, the two have a very specific agenda. 
 
“Me and Terry get in, we talk to each other and say, ‘we gotta run,’” Brown said. “That’s our focus; we’re young. We try to get up and down the floor. It makes the game easier for us.”
 
The Celtics' second unit has been in a constant state of change most of this season due to the number of injuries sustained by the preferred starting five. 

So getting more consistent play from the team’s youngsters like Rozier and Brown is huge for this team going forward especially if they will be without Thomas for multiple games which is a possibility. 
 
“It was a great opportunity; they seized it,” Horford said. “Moving forward, if they play like they did tonight; defense first, confident, I feel like there will be plenty of more opportunities to show what they have.”