Ray Allen provides spark in return to action

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Ray Allen provides spark in return to action

BOSTON No one knew what to expect when Ray Allen entered the floor at the 4:40 mark of the first quarter.

Allen, as he has done so many times, wasted little time getting down to what he does best - making shots.

And his shot-making could not have come at a better time, as the Celtics squeak out a 90-84 overtime win against an under-manned Atlanta Hawks team.

Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 in Boston on Sunday.

Not surprisingly, Allen's teammates were happy to see him on the bench in something other than a nicely tailored suit.

"Just having him out there really picked us up," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "Because we haven't seen Ray in a jersey in so long. Just having him out there, you heard the reaction from the crowd when he checked into the game. Stuff like that brings so much energy to the ball club, to have a guy that's so vital come out there and give us a big lift. It's huge having him out there tonight, especially with Avery (Bradley) going down."

Bradley, who starts in place of Allen now, suffered a left shoulder injury in the third quarter and was unable to return. Bradley told CSNNE.com after the game that the shoulder was still sore, but he was optimistic that he would be able to play in Game 4 on Sunday.

Allen is in a similar position as far as being questionable for Sunday's Game 4 matchup.

On Friday, Allen showed no signs of rust early on when he knocked down his first shot attempt of the night. He went on to score 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field.

The 13 points from Allen isn't all that surprising.

However, he did it in 37 minutes - yes, 37 minutes which seemed an awful lot of court time for a guy who had not played in nearly a month.

"Someone asked me (before the game), 'Would there be a minute restriction?' I said, 'No, because we don't know when he'll play again or not.' So I'm getting everything I can get out of him each game," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "I'm saying that jokingly, but somewhat true as well."

Said Allen: "From day-to-day I don't know somedays. And trying to give you guys answers is sometimes hard to really explain or give answers. Tomorrow's a new day, but again, I'm not going into it looking like or feeling like a victim; I'm coming out of the sand thinking it's going to be good tomorrow and it's going to be even better Sunday."

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup