Allen at a loss to explain drop in production

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Allen at a loss to explain drop in production

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - If the solution was obvious, Ray Allen would have changed things by now.

He knows his shot attempts have dropped late in the season, but as for why, he still trying to figure it out.

There is a checklist of possibilities to consider. Theres the fact that the Celtics are still trying to gel with their new players; other teammates are taking more shots; Allen is dribbling more than he has in the past (Doc Rivers' theory); Allen feels the ball movement among the team has changed.

Whether its all of the above or none at all, Allen and the Celtics have six games left in the regular season to adapt.

The main objective is to win, Allen said. If I have a couple of games where I dont touch the ball or score, I just try to find other ways to be effective. Being efficient for me is the ultimate key, but I know I have to be out there and I have to have an impact. So I just try to figure it out from one game to the next, how you can get the shots you need.

Allens shot attempts decreased from 14.4 per game in February to 11.5 in March. As a result, his scoring dropped from 18.4 points to 15.1 points from month to month.

Coming into Sundays game against the Pistons, he was averaging 9.4 attempts over his last five contests. He wound up with 13 in the Celts' 101-90 win over Detroit.

The Celtics want Allen to be involved in their offense. As they near the postseason, they know how much of a contributor he can be on the floor. Despite his recent struggles, he's still the teams second-highest scorer with 16.8 points per game.

Kevin Garnett made a conscious effort on Sunday night to Allen touches against the Detroit Pistons.

Allen attempted just three field goals through the first three quarters of the Celtics' win. He hit a stride in the fourth, when he shot a perfect three-for-three from the field.

Hes going to be huge for us, Garnett said of Allen in the playoffs. I think I took it upon myself to get him some looks, just knowing the past couple of games, him not having a rhythm, trying to establish him a rhythm going into these last couple games we have and then on to the playoffs. Hes going to be huge for us as to whether we win or whether we dont win.

Doc Rivers wants his team to keep things simple. Hes not delving for deeper answers, just looking at the Xs and Os of basketball.

Rays just struggling because hes struggling. Its not the ball movement, Rivers told CSNNE.com. I just want Ray to make shots, thats it. We dont have to make it complicated.

Allens goal is to find his rhythm without disrupting the Celtics. He isnt going to address the issue with his teammates or complain about his shots. After 15 years in the league, he looks to himself to improve his own game, even if it is without having the ball in his hands.

Said Allen, Youve got to think about it from the context of the team and how what Im doing affects the team. If I need to score more to help the team win, if I need to do something else to help the team win . . . thats how I look at it.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.