Allen's struggle at free-throw line highlight ankle issue


Allen's struggle at free-throw line highlight ankle issue

BOSTON -- Ray Allen entered the playoffs having missed just nine free throws in 106 attempts during the regular season, shooting an impressive 91.5 percent.

When he missed two free throws in his Game 3 return from an ankle injury, eyebrows were raised.

When he missed another two in Game 5, heads were scratched.

And when he shot four-for-six from the line in a deciding Game 6, it became clear there were lingering effects from the injury that previously sidelined him for 11 straight games.

I missed two free throws the last couple games and that to me is what my ultimate sign of comfort is, Allen said prior to Game 6 on Thursday. When I get to the free-throw line, your body settles in. Getting back to my ultimate comfortability is when I get to the free-throw line and youre kind of like a machine, so thats still what Im trying to go back to.

For Allen, making free throws is just as much about rhythm as it is about the release. Being sidelined prevented him from establishing the rhythm he thrives off of on the court.

Allen said his ankle was swollen on Wednesday and he was walking on it a little funny. After playing over 26 minutes in the Celtics' Game 6 win (7 points, 1-for-7 3PG, 4-for-6 FT, 5 rebounds), he said his ankle was bothering him more so than in previous games during the series.

I didnt have the confidence on it. he said. Right now its bothering me but I have a day tomorrow to deal with it.

The Celtics have one day to prepare for Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. That doesnt leave Allen with a significant break to rest his ankle, but he is looking to push through the challenges as he did in the first round.

My rhythm is still a little suspect but Im still working on it, he said. Im still working on it. Every day is a new day and I always love the challenge.

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Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”