Anyone who has ever fought their way back to work after battling flu-like symptoms can appreciate what Ray Allen went through to get back on the basketball court for the Celtics.
After illness forced him to miss the Celtics’ 89-70 romp over the Nets Wednesday, Allen wanted to make sure he was completely comfortable before returning for last night’s home game against the Pacers.
The only way Allen could be certain of that was by breaking a sweat.
“I felt more winded during the day,’’ Allen said after his game-high 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting (4 of 5 from the 3-point arc) went for naught in an 87-74 loss.
“That’s why when I came in during the morning, I made sure that I got that wind by running on the treadmill and getting my shots up this morning and this afternoon,’’ he said. “I felt good and I was tired, but by game time I was back in my element.’’
Problem was, the rest of the Celtics were not.
That much was abundantly clear by halftime. The Celtics shot 3 for 18 in the second quarter and retreated to the locker room facing a 33-25 deficit, tying the franchise record for fewest points in a first half set vs. Cleveland Feb. 8, 1995.
Although coach Doc Rivers noted that “without Ray shooting [tonight], we would’ve shot 20 percent,’’ the Celtics, who hit 26 of 66 overall, would have likely retired the franchise record for fewest points in a half.
“Either way, Ray shot the ball well, make no mistake,’’ Rivers said. “But he overdribbled, too. The whole team [did]. The bottom line is when you see a lot of dribbles and it’s not [Rajon] Rondo, then we’re probably doing something wrong. “It’s been that way four years for us.’’
Said Allen, “Offensively, it seemed like when ball movement doesn’t happen, we end up putting ourselves in bad situations on defense. But I thought we played good defense consistent throughout the game until the third quarter when we’d score and they’d score. Then the ball would end up bouncing their way.’’
That much was true when the Celtics thrice pulled within 2 points in the third quarter.
The last time the Celtics scored 25 points in a half was in the second half of a 99-83 loss against the Bucks in 1999. Allen had 21 points for the Bucks that night.
Asked if he had any recollection of that game, Allen replied, “I don’t, but it [stinks] when you’re on the low end of that history. You don’t ever want to be a part of a situation like that, especially with the firepower that we have in here. You’d never think we would score so few points.
“Again, when you fight through a season like this, there’s so many games you use as teaching points. You hope you don’t have them, but we can always look back and say, ‘Remember this game?’ even when we play them again within a couple of weeks.’’