Allen makes 'very weird' return to Garden with Heat


Allen makes 'very weird' return to Garden with Heat

BOSTON -- Ray Allen woke up around 7am on Sunday morning. Four hours later, he was back on the same court he had warmed up on for the previous five seasons.

He pulled up for jump shots, three-pointers, and free throws with unwavering concentration as fans who had began entering the arena yelled his name from the stands.

It was just like any other pregame warmup at the TD Garden, only this time, he was wearing a Miami Heat t-shirt.

"It was very weird," Allen said after the Celtics beat the Heat, 100-98, in double overtime. "Going to the other locker room, its been a long time since Ive been on that side of the hallway. The whole years been an adjustment being in Miami after being in Boston for so long, so it was definitely a weird feeling for me.

Allen made his first return to Boston on Sunday after signing with the Heat during free agency last summer. He turned down more money from the Celtics and opted to join their Eastern Conference rivals, making him Enemy Number One to many Celtics fans.

Entering the game, the buzz around Boston was how he would be received by the Garden crowd. Fans cheered for him when the Celtics played a tribute video on the JumboTron and then shifted their reactions to boos whenever Allen got the ball.

"All those emotions came streaming back from all the great things we did here, and that's why I say I'll always remember the big games we played in and won," Allen said, adding, "I didnt know what to expect. The one thing I was going to do is come into it and just focus on being prepared and getting the guys ready that were playing, that were starting the game. I didnt expect to get booed the whole time, throughout the game, that I touched the ball. That was interesting."

Allen played 38 minutes off the bench, scoring 21 points (7-17 FG, 2-8 3PG, 5-7 FT) and grabbing five rebounds. He tried to treat this game just like any other matchup while on the floor, putting aside of the buildup of his return.

"He probably played too many extended minutes at the end, like everybody had to, but mentally he came in right," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. " He was ready. I dont think he was too high or too low."

Unlike Opening Night in Miami when Kevin Garnett's apparent snub of Allen's attempt to say hello dominated basketball chatter, Allen's interactions with his former teammates were drama-free on the court. He instead looked back on the positive memories he made on the Celtics, reflecting on the championship season and title runs, and reaffirming what the city meant to him in spite of where he now calls home.

Said Allen, "I always know I'll always be a Celtic in my mind, regardless of what anyone else says."

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards


Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK - Russell Westbrook was voted NBA MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles last season.

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season, and he broke Robertson's single-season record set when he had 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

The point guard beat out Houston's James Harden and San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard to succeed Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards.

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Mike Giardi: People in Paul George's camp think Celtics are a great fit

Mike Giardi: People in Paul George's camp think Celtics are a great fit

Mike Giardi reports that there are some people in Paul George's camp that think the Boston Celtics would be a great fit, both short and long-term.