Moore and Johnson reflect on loss of Allen

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Moore and Johnson reflect on loss of Allen

ORLANDO, Fla. - Boston Celtics guard E'Twaun Moore counts Ray Allen among the
many Celtic players who helped him in his transition to the NBA last season.

At the end of the day, Moore understands Allen's decision to sign a three-year deal worth more than 9 million with the Miami Heat is just part of the business of being an NBA player.

"I didn't really know what was going on," Moore said. "It's kind of surprising. But that's a decision he has to make for himself."

It was a decision that might benefit Moore who comes into this summer league trying to do enough to warrant the C's bringing him back for a second season.

That path became a little more clearer with Allen's decision to not return to Boston and accept a two-year deal worth 12 million.

"It gives me a greater chance (of making the team)," Moore said of Allen's departure. "I just have to take advantage of it."

With the C's already having a backcourt of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and
soon-to-be acquired Jason Terry, the addition of Allen would have made it a lot
tougher for the Celtics to justify keeping Moore when they have so many other
holes in their roster in need of addressing.

"He's gone," Moore said. "So now I just have to worry about me and go ahead and play."

Moore's play, especially his confidence in his shot, has been aided by spending a year with Allen who has made more 3s (2,718 and counting) than any player in NBA history.

Many of the lessons needed to achieve such a milestone, Allen has passed on that knowledge to players like Moore.

"He definitely shared his wisdom," Moore said. "Especially on keeping your body healthy; make sure you take care of yourself by staying in shape. Those were some of the things he always talked about."

Although they play different positions, Boston forward JaJuan Johnson counts Allen among the Boston veterans to provide some guidance and direction during his first season as well.

"He was a great teammate," Johnson told CSNNE.com. "The biggest thing Ray did, was lead by example. He always stuck to the 'true team' concept, always professional. Those were the two things I take away from being around Ray."

Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue who is coaching the C's summer league team, counts himself among those who will miss having Allen around.

As much as Allen helped him and the coaching staff's job become easier, the impact he made on the team's young players - like Moore and Johnson - was one of Allen's strengths that often went unnoticed.

"Ray's the ultimate professional. He comes ready to play, everyday," Lue said. "The same workout he's been doing for the last 15 years. Young guys will miss him, but other guys will step up and take on the responsibility."

Lue, like most Celtic fans, is still processing the idea that No. 20's last big shot around these parts was the one he delivered on Friday when he decided to take his sweet-looking shot to South Beach instead of sticking around and making another run at Banner 18.

"I was shocked," Lue said of Allen's decision. "I see Ray as a Celtic. But in this business, you have to do what's best for you. I guess he thought Miami was best for him."

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."