Tony Allen: 'I don't see the same team from 2008'

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Tony Allen: 'I don't see the same team from 2008'

BOSTON -- Tony Allen reached behind himself and pulled out a folded number 42 Boston Celtics jersey from his stall in the Memphis Grizzlies visiting locker room at the TD Garden. The lower corner of the white uniform from the 2010 NBA playoffs was speckled in dark red.
"It's one of my jerseys they had," Allen said proudly. "It kind of almost brought me to tears today, but I had to hide it a little bit. There's blood on it, so you know I was scrapping with it."
Scrapping. It was part of Allen's all-out mentality he and the rest of the Boston Celtics embodied during their title runs, winning it all in 2008 and falling just short two years later in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Three seasons later, Allen was seated in a victorious Grizzlies locker room on Wednesday night. He scored 15 points to help hand the Celtics a 93-83 loss, dropping them to 14-17.
Allen has never doubted the drive of his former team.
"You can never test the heart of a champion," he noted.
But with only Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo remaining from the 2008 title group, he also saw a different squad than the one he lifted the trophy with on the parquet.
The teams Allen played on had the type of depth that doesn't come together every season. From gritty perimeter defenders to sharpshooters to intimidating bigs in the middle, there were x-factors that jumped out to him.
"They're missing a lot of pieces," he said. "Obviously you've got a lot of guys that have fulfilled those roles, such as J-Terry (Jason Terry) in substitution of Ray (Allen). They've got one (defensive-minded guy), (Avery Bradley), but I can't really say that he's a hundred percent just yet. (Bradley returned from double-shoulder surgery against the Grizzlies.) I don't think they've got the center like Perk (Kendrick Perkins). It's kind of hard finding a guy like that, a guy who clogs up the paint, talks trash to you, and actually backs it up. But they're just missing a lot and I don't see the same team from 2008."
Allen believes a key to the Celtics success will be role players stepping up in doing whatever it takes to win. While the 2008 squad was headlined by future Hall of Famers, it was the entire team that pushed them to victory.
"They're missing a lot of their key pieces that they had," he said. "Those guys have to try to find a way because those other guys aren't here anymore, so once somebody steps up to those roles and holds themselves accountable and be those guys they're missing, that's when you'll get back to it."
"Boston has shown so many ways to win," he continued. "You take the year that we didn't get (James) Posey back. That following year, they put me in that position and we went all the way to Game 7. We lose Perk in the NBA Finals (and we almost won).
"Boston knows how to win."

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

BOSTON — It took until 2015, apparently, but David Ortiz now knows Dustin Pedroia’s full name.

The couple days leading up to the jersey retirement ceremony tonight for Ortiz have been packed. Around lunch time Thursday, Ortiz had a street near Fenway Park named after him — a bridge wasn’t enough — the street formerly known as Yawkey Way Extension. (It’s between Brookline Avenue and Yawkey Station.) On Friday morning, he was at Logan Airport where JetBlue Gate C34 was designed with a new theme to honor Ortiz.

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Tonight's the big night, so to speak. But Thursday night will probably go down as the most entertaining.

Ortiz was roasted at House of Blues on Thursday, joined on stage by Pedroia, Rob Gronkowski and a handful of actual comedians. Bill Burr was the biggest name among the professional joke-tellers. It was a charity event to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps to provide lifesaving surgeries for children.

All the comedians — Lenny Clarke, Sarah Tiana, Anthony Mackie, Josh Wolf, Adam Ray (a young man dressed up as an old Yankees fan) — ripped on everyone on stage, including Pedroia. Naturally, Pedroia was mocked for being short over and over and over.

When he took the podium, Pedroia said it was a good thing the height of the microphone was adjustable. If he had to stand on his wallet, he said, he’d be up to the roof.

Most jokes were not suitable for print or broadcast. But the story Pedroia told about being in the on-deck circle when a catcher needed a ball once was a highlight. It's from just two years ago.

“So I had already played with David for, I don’t know, nine years?” Pedroia said. “And I hit right in front of him for nine years.”

The Red Sox were playing the Indians at home. The umpire had to use the bathroom and the ball rolled near Pedroia. So the catcher said hello to Pedroia, using the second baseman’s first name.

“David walks over and goes, what the [expletive] did he call you?” Pedroia said.

“I said, ‘Dustin,’” Pedroia said. 

Ortiz was confused. “’Why’d he call you that?’” he said.

“I go, that’s my [expletive] name,” Pedroia said. “He goes, 'Oh, is that right?’

"I’m like, ‘Yeah, bro. I’ve had 1,600 games with you. They’ve actually said it 5,000 [expletive] times: now batting, No. 15, Dustin Pedroia.’”

“I thought it was Pee Wee," Ortiz went.

“This is dead serious,” Pedroia said. “Now the umpire comes back — I’m standing there, I got to hit...and I’m looking at him, ‘You thought my parents would name me [expletive] Pee Wee?’ 

“And he’s just looking at me, and we’re having a conversation. The umpire’s yelling at me, the catcher’s laughing at me because he can hear kind of what he’s saying.”

No jersey retirement speech will be that funny.