Despite ankle injury, Allen far from irrelevant for Celtics

Despite ankle injury, Allen far from irrelevant for Celtics
May 24, 2012, 12:04 am
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PHILADELPHIA The video doesn't lie.

Ray Allen runs from one baseline to another, using screens like he always has, to get open.

He finally gets to the spot on the floor he's searching for.

But there's a problem.

Whoever the Sixers have guarding him, is right there as well.

The ankle issues that have plagued Allen this season, have him running a step slower than he used to, which in turn has made him easier to defend.

"It's simple," Rivers said. "All you have to do is watch the game. He can't get away. Ray and (Indiana Pacers great) Reggie Miller, even Reggie when he was 38, spaced himself on the floor with his movement. Right now, when you watch it, the guy is standing right next to him."

Even though Allen can't get free like he or the Celtics are used to, there's no mistaking the positive impact he has on the Celtics most of the time he's on the floor.

"That's one of the things we keep showing Ray, to keep his spirits up," Rivers said. "No, you're not getting shots. You can't get away from guys right now."

But when you look back at Brandon Bass' career-high 27 points in Boston's Game 5 win, Allen's presence was indeed a factor in Bass' breakout game.

In a conversation with Allen, Rivers told him, "Brandon got a bunch of lay-ups, because you were on the same side that he was rolling. They're not going to leave you.'"

Rivers added, "the one thing he can still do, he can make an open shot."

But getting those open shots, at this point, remains a challenge especially against a Sixers defense that has emphasized trying to take Allen as much out of the offense as possible.

Allen didn't help matters when he suffered a rolled ankle injury in Game 5, an injury he says won't keep him out of tonight's game.

"It feels good now," Allen said. "I don't have any issues with it now. I'm glad I took myself out when I did. At least that gave it a chance to calm down."

Now Allen's focus is on doing what he can to help the Celtics squeeze out one more win over Philadelphia and with that, advance to the Conference Finals for the third time during the Big Three era.

The pressure of a close-out game is evident.

But Allen, much like a defender flying at him on a 3-point attempt, isn't too phased by the moment.

"It's like anything else, when you put so much pressure on yourself to succeed . . . my approach is to go into it and pay attention to the small details," Allen said. "Hopefully it'll take care of itself."

Allen will certainly have an opportunity to make an immediate impact now that he's back in the starting lineup with Avery Bradley (shoulders) sidelined indefinitely.

The bulk of Allen's career has been as a starter, so the idea of re-joining the first unit isn't one that takes much getting used to on his part.

"There's never an adjustment because you know exactly how to play the game," Allen said. "You know when to shoot, when not to shoot. I know who's on the floor and what they're capable of and how I need to be effective."