By A. Sherrod Blakely
SACRAMENTO, Calif. We've all seen Ray Allen hot - but not like this.
The Boston Celtics were losing, on the road, by near double-digits to a Sacramento team that's among the worst in the NBA.
So as Allen made his way towards the C's locker room at the half, he lit into this teammates in a way seldom seen or heard.
"I don't normally do that," Allen said.
Coach Doc Rivers stood outside the locker room and heard it all multiple voices.
"You could hear them talking that, 'We don't play that way. That's not Celtics basketball.' I heard Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett."
But according to players, it was Allen whose voice seemed to dominate all others.
"Ray really doesn't say much at halftime," said Paul Pierce. "But he came out, kind of got on guys. Guys responded."
After trailing by seven points at the half, Boston pulled ahead in the third and never looked back.
And the reserves, who squandered a first-half lead built up by the starters?
They redeemed themselves with some solid play down the stretch.
Kendrick Perkins (8 points, 10 rebounds) and Nate Robinson (four points, four rebounds and a season-high five steals) stood out along with Sixth Man of the Year candidate Glen Davis, who had 14 points and 4 rebounds.
"Ray was kind of mad at us," Perkins said. "We just had to take it, bounce back and go from there. I thought guys came back in, took the coaching well, came in with the right mindset."
And while Allen's game-high 22 points certainly stood out, his biggest contribution had nothing to do with his feathery-soft stroke or lighting quick release.
"Since I've been here, I've not had to be too boisterous," Allen said. "I've been pretty much, go and lead by example."
In a way, that's what Allen did.
Except his leadership skills are usually reserved for making big shots.
On Tuesday, he was more about making a point - a loud, boisterous one, at that - that the Celtics had to pump the brakes on losing to bad teams.
"I was pissed at the way we played," Allen said of the team's first half performance. "I felt we took their confidence away at the start of the game. Going into the second quarter, I felt we gave them confidence back by not playing, not having energy."
It was yet another example of how Allen continues to be as clutch a player as the C's have.
"It's a time and place for everything," Allen said.