Lakers spoil Allen's night, beat Celtics, 92-86

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Lakers spoil Allen's night, beat Celtics, 92-86

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON For years, Ray Allen has carried himself in such a way that you would think he was NBA royalty.

Well, he is now.

Ray Allen officially became the NBA's all-time king of the 3-ball in the first quarter on Thursday, splashing No. 2,561 to pass Reggie Miller who was just a few feet away at the time.

"When I got the ball and let it go . . . once the ball went in the air I knew it was good," said Allen who finished with a team-high 20 points.

Allen added, "I'll remember this for the rest of my life."

However, the night turned out to be a bittersweet one for Allen and the Boston Celtics as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 92-86 win.

The C's came into the game with 10 healthy players.

By halftime, they were down to nine following a right knee bruise suffered by Nate Robinson, who will undergo an Magnetic Resonance Imaging test on Friday.

Even with the low number of bodies available, the C's weren't using that as the reason for losing for the third time in the last four games.

"We went up 13, 14 points," said Paul Pierce. "We had a chance to go up even more and we let them creep back into the game and in the third quarter they turned it up. We didn't adjust to it at all."

As disappointing as the loss was, it could not completely overshadow Allen's milestone.

There were a number of current players, such as Houston's Terrence Williams and Detroit's Charlie Villanueva, who congratulated Allen via Twitter shortly after he set the mark.

And the man he passed, Miller, also praised Allen's achievement.

"When people ask me, 'You've got to be a little bit upset or bitter?', I answer, 'Why?' First of all, all records are made to be broken," Miller said. "I'm just so happy for him because this is one of the best guys. He's so humble, he's so giving, he's a great family man and I'm excited. This is great. This is great for the game of basketball."

After Allen's shot went down, so did the sold-out TD Garden crowd that had risen to its feet in anticipation every time Allen raised up to shoot a 3-pointer.

There was still a game to be finished out, so there was little to no time to fully soak in the moment.

About 20 seconds after Allen's historic shot, the Celtics' Kendrick Perkins committed a foul which brought a stoppage to play.

That was when the public-address announcer told the crowd about Allen's record.

In the moments following that, Allen went over to give Miller a hug.

Allen went to the bench and got hugs and handshakes from his teammates.

He gave his mother - easily his biggest fan - a hug, and followed that up with hugs and kisses for the rest of his family.

And then . . . back to the game.

Give the Celtics a lot of credit.

There's always going to be a decent amount of build-up to games between these two teams.

But with so much attention prior to the game paid to Allen's pursuit of the 3-point record, it could have easily led to the C's coming out looking to help Allen set the record instead of setting the tempo against a Lakers team that's still in search of a marquee win over one of the league's power teams.

The Celtics controlled the action for most of the first half, with their lead peaking at 45-30.

However, it seemed the Lakers finally started to wear down the short-handed Celtics late in the second quarter, as Los Angeles went on a 14-4 run to make it a 49-44 game.

But the Celtics were able to hold the Lakers' surge off, and took a 53-45 lead into the half.

However, the C's still came up short which to some, would take some of the luster off his accomplishment.

Allen's 3-point mark wasn't a one-night achievement.

It was the crowning jewel for a career that, when it's all said and done, will end with him eventually being enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

And that 3-point record he has?

Chances are pretty good it'll be his for a while as well.

Paul Pierce is 12th all-time in 3s made with 1,541.

"I'll never catch him," Pierce said. "I know that for a fact. Records are made to be broken, but I don't think it will be broken for a very long time. He still has four or five years left in him."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

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Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

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Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

The pressure that comes with a tight game in the fourth quarter can be a weighty proposition for some NBA players.

Then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who continues to save his best work for the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s 107-106 win at Philadelphia had yet another Thomas-like finish for the Celtics as the 5-foot-9 guard was at his most dominant state in the game’s final minutes.

Thomas finished with a season high-tying 37 points which included a stretch in the fourth in which he scored 12 straight.

“I just love the fourth quarter,” Thomas told reporters following the win. “I just want to win. Whether it’s making plays for myself or making plays for my teammates, it’s about making the right play. I get ultra- aggressive in that fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve always done.”

And his teammates appreciate how Thomas elevates his play in the game’s most pivotal moments.

“A lot of the credit is to Isaiah, how he was able to finish the game tonight,” said Avery Bradley. “He was able to make shots when we needed him to.”

And while Thomas knows his shots won’t fall all the time down the stretch, his fourth quarter mentality does provide him with a level of confidence that no matter what the defense does to him or what the score may be, he can swing the game’s momentum in his team’s favor.

“Some guys get a little tight, they get a little timid (in the fourth quarter),” Thomas said. “I embrace it. I want to be great. I want to be somebody my teammates can call on when the game is close.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: There was no more dominant player on Saturday night than Thomas. He finished with a game-high 37 points along with seven assists.

Dario Saric: It was a breakout game for the 22-year-old rookie who led the Sixers with 21 points as well as 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Both his points and rebound totals tied his career highs in those categories.

STUDS

Avery Bradley: Boston’s surge towards victory did not kick in until the third quarter which is when Bradley elevated his play offensively. In the third he scored 10 of his 20 points on the night, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

Ersan Illyasova: He finished with 18 points which included a pair of three-pointers in the closing seconds of the game. He also grabbed six rebounds and two assists.

DUDS

Celtics first half defense: There wasn’t much to like about Boston defensively in the first half. The Celtics struggled to take away or limit Philadelphia’s only strength Saturday night which was three-point shooting. The Sixers nailed nine of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half in addition to hurting the Celtics’ transition defense which gave up seven fast-break points to Philly compared to Boston scoring just one point in transition.