Allen makes necessary adjustments

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Allen makes necessary adjustments

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - When Ray Allens signature long-range shot wasnt falling, he went with Plan B.

That decision helped the Celtics beat the Pacers, 99-88, on Sunday afternoon.

Allen hit his first three-point bucket with four minutes to go in the second quarter. But as his next four attempts didnt drop, he changed his course.

Showing his veteran discipline, Allen passed on the trey and drove the lane instead. Only three of his 17 points came from beyond the arc (8-16 FG).

The last time Allen shot 1-for-6 from beyond the arc, he finished with just nine points. Sundays performance was the most points he has scored all season when only making one three-point shot.

I just had to go to the hole, Allen said. I missed a couple shots that seemed like they were right on, but I did sense the urgency to take me off the three-point ball. So when I was coming up, I was just trying to get to the hole because there were gaps there.

Allen provided one of the highlights of the game with a fastbreak layup that froze Mike Dunleavy in his tracks. While the play was something typical of a speedy point guard, it was part of Allens plan of attack.

"It's just, I'm not the guy that always has the ball in his hands, he said. I'm known for what I've been doing while in this role. But my whole career, I've had to create opportunities for myself, be a playmaker for other guys on the team, try to get other guys involved. I don't have to do that as much this year. (Rajon) Rondo is a guy who is the creator here on the team, but we still have to be able to make plays with each other.

Just as Allen adjusted his own offense against the Pacers, he has also adjusted the way he plays within the team with Rondo sidelined (ankle). He dished six assists for the second consecutive game, nearly two more than his season average of 4.2.

And with Paul Pierce playing the role of point-forward, Allen jumped in when needed.

You know, it was funny, I think it was three minutes left, you could see he (Pierce) was getting tired, so you had Ray bringing it up a couple times, said Doc Rivers.

Ball handling, fastbreak layups - theyre not moves commonly associated with Allen. But after making the necessary adjustments, the end results very familiar to him - a win.

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Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”