Allen emphasizes conditioning early

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Allen emphasizes conditioning early

WALTHAM -- Ray Allen is used to being the first one at the arenas on game days, and that mentality did not waiver this extended offseason.

Allen has become accustomed to starting training camp in late September, so when that time rolled around and the NBA was still in the middle of its lockout, he found his own way to prepare for the season.

I was getting up every morning going to the gym and begging people to let me in the gym and shoot, he said after practice on Sunday. I was shooting in different gyms in my neighborhood, going to the health club in my neighborhood every day.

In spite of all the hours Allen clocked in the gym, shots he put up, and miles he ran, it doesnt compare to the strain placed on his body when he is playing the game. Hes feeling it early on in training camp, but he doesnt mind it in the beginning stages.

I could run all day long on the treadmill or run outside or do different things, but basketball is such a different dynamic for anybodys body being in that position and then having other guys leaning on you throughout the whole time and getting to your spot and being able to shoot and score, he said. You could do it but you do feel fatigue. It wears on you over time, so I like to put myself in that situation to try to let those muscles feel it and get that fatigue and then kind of fight through it, and thats how I get over it.

Allen, 36, has been through enough training camps to understand the benefit of conditioning early on in the season. He wants his entire team to make it a priority in these first weeks.

"The last couple of weeks has been a disadvantage to the players and we put ourselves in this situation, so all we have to do now is handle the situation, making sure guys that are here are on the floor, putting themselves in the best position to get in the best shape they can possibly get in, he said. One of the things Ive known most of my career is that early in the season, you tend to miss shots, you get tired, mentally you make mistakes in the fourth quarter, so whatever we can do to improve our conditioning early. Its important for all of us.

One factor that Allen believes will benefit the Celtics during this condensed season head coach Doc Rivers, who saw the effects of the previous NBA lockout. With so many veteran players on the team, Allen says Rivers will be able to manage their playing time to keep them ready for the postseason.

I think more important is just having a coach thats been around and understands it because you know how not to push your guys and you know what to expect, he said. You remember how guys bodies felt the last time, and we talked to guys about that. I think we have one stretch in April, March we have so many games, we kind of know what its going to be like in advance. So whatever you can do now to build up that equity early so you know going into that, you know your bodies good and you didnt do anything stupid schedule-wise with games.

While Allen is happy to be back on the court getting ready for the season, there are a few people who could miss him being around the local gyms for those early morning workouts.

I ended up turning into a strength coach at some point. Im working some of my wifes friends out, he said. I got to the point where they probably looked around the corner and said, Is Ray here? OK good, I can work out.

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

BOSTON – You hear coaches and players often refer to the NBA as a make-miss league.

When summing up what happened in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sadly it was that simple.

Dennis Schroder led the six double-figure scorers for the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting.

Boston got many of the shots that they have been getting throughout this run in which they came into Monday’s game having won 11 of their previous 14 games.

The Celtics (38-22) have now lost three of their last four games. Life won’t get any easier for them with defending NBA champion Cleveland coming into town on Wednesday.

We have seen the Celtics make some miraculous comebacks under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, but Celtics fans understandably began hitting the exits with more than three minutes to play and Boston looking up at a 108-84 deficit.

Credit the Hawks defense which played with a greater sense of urgency, the kind you would expect from a team that had come in riding a three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, Boston looked like the team that we have seen most of this season which relies heavily on their perimeter shooting to win games.

That’s not all that surprising against the Hawks whose interior defense is anchored by Dwight Howard.

Howard, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds, also had a pair of blocked shots and altered many others.

But the Celtics spent a good chunk of the second half with Howard out of the game.

Howard, an absolute unstoppable force for the Hawks all game, picked up his second technical foul (an automatic ejection) for hanging on the rim following a put-back dunk with 4:03 to play in the third and Atlanta ahead 74-65.

He had picked up his first technical foul for shoving Al Horford earlier in the game.

But with Howard out, the Celtics still couldn’t take advantage of an Atlanta team that was much more vulnerable to dribble-drive penetration.

In fact, Atlanta began to pull away and took their biggest lead up to that point of the game, 84-69, following a 3-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. late in the third quarter which ended with the Hawks ahead 84-71.

And Boston’s struggles stemmed from their inability to make open shots.

For the game, the Celtics shot 39.1 percent from field which is a somewhat inflated figure considering the mini-run Boston's backups went on in the final minute or two of play.

Not even the usual high-scoring exploits of Isaiah Thomas could save the day.

The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, Thomas had another sub-par night in the game’s final quarter of play.

He led the Celtics with 19 points, but only two came in the fourth quarter. And by failing to reach 20 points, Thomas’ franchise-record of consecutive games with 20 or more comes to an end at 43 straight.  

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Hawks hold decisive edge on the boards

BOSTON – The return of Avery Bradley was a good thing for the Boston Celtics, but it wasn’t enough for them to control the action in the first half of Monday’s game against the Hawks who took a 51-47 lead into the half.

Bradley, who had missed previous 18 games and 22 of 23, had six points in the first half on 2-for-4 shooting.

The Celtics opened the game with a 7-2 spurt and led by as many as eight points (15-7) in the first before the Hawks begin to cut into Boston’s lead and eventually take their first lead of the night following a 3-point play by Paul Millsap with 4:20 to play in the quarter which put them ahead 18-15 as part of an 11-0 run.

Boston would regain the lead before both teams went into the second quarter tied at 24.

The second quarter saw Boston hit one of those scoring lulls that they go through from time to time.

But unlike last night’s win at Detroit when they went nearly four minutes without scoring, Atlanta’s offense did a much better job of taking advantage of Boston’s struggles.

Atlanta went on a 9-2 spurt in the second quarter capped off by a Kent Bazemore lay-up that put the Hawks ahead 35-31.

Boston rallied soon after with Bradley leading the charge.

Bradley drained a 3-pointer that cut Atlanta’s lead to 35-34.

A defensive stop by Boston led the way for an Isaiah Thomas lay-up that put the Celtics back on top, leading to the Hawks calling a time-out with 6:18to play in the half.

Atlanta tightened up defensively, doing just enough to go into the half with a four-point lead.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks.

 

STARS

Dennis Schroder

He really came out and set the tone for the Hawks, scoring eight of his 10 first-half points in the first quarter.

Isaiah Thomas

Atlanta did a nice job of blitzing Thomas and forcing him to pass the ball. But Thomas is a professional scorer so you knew it was a matter of time before he got going offensively. He led the Celtics with nine points at the half, in addition to dishing out five assists while also grabbing five rebounds.

Dwight Howard

The Celtics simply could not keep him from dominating play around the rim. He led all scorers at the half with 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.

 

STUDS

Marcus Smart

When the offense seemed to stall, it was Smart who kept the Celtics within striking distance in the second quarter. He had seven points at the half along with three rebounds and an assist.

Paul Millsap

He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (he missed six of his seven shots), but his presence was felt. He had five points at the half along with nine rebounds.

 

DUDS

Celtics rebounding

It really is an adventure when it comes to the Boston Celtics and rebounding the ball. Tonight, they have not been very good, with the Hawks holding a decisive 32-21 rebounding edge which has allowed them to hold a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint, an 8-2 edge on second-chance points in addition to leading the fast break points game, 7-4.