Heat hit Boston after one of Allen's best games of season

Heat hit Boston after one of Allen's best games of season
March 18, 2013, 12:30 am
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WALTHAM, Mass. — Ray Allen's back at the TD Garden where he received a fairly mixed reception from the fans the last time he was in town with his new Miami Heat cohorts.

As big a deal as Allen's return was when the two met at the TD Garden in  Boston's 100-98 double overtime win on Jan. 27 - the same day the C's found out Rajon Rondo was out for the season - it is nothing more than a footnote heading into Monday's game.

Miami's franchise-record 22-game winning streak will be on the line against a Celtics squad that has won 11 straight at home, their longest home winning streak since the 2008-2009 season.

There's LeBron James' quest for a third league MVP award which is looking pretty good right about now against a Celtics defense that has been among the NBA's best in several statistical categories since the calendar flipped to January aka, Avery Bradley's return.

Don't forget Dwyane Wade's improved health which has also been a big part of why the Heat are so much better.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Ray's coming back to town and he's coming off one of his best games of the season.

In Miami's 108-91 win over Toronto on Sunday, Allen scored 16 of his 20 points off the bench in the fourth quarter. In his first game at the TD Garden on Jan. 27, Allen had 21 points.

This season, Allen has averaged a career-low 10.8 points in 25.8 minutes per game - both career lows.

Regardless of what Allen has done this season, his departure still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many Celtics fans. But to sign with the Heat, the C's biggest rival in the East, only added fuel to a rivalry that continues to get hotter.

Allen's return is certainly a topic of discussion that Celtics coach Doc Rivers knows will be out there among NBA fans. But rather than be the dominant talk of the town, it's just another chapter in the ongoing tale of these two franchises.

"There's a lot of things that go into playing Miami," Rivers said. "They're the world champs. They knocked us out (of the Eastern Conference finals last season). It's becoming a fun series."