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Doc Rivers says Ray Allen was worried about his reception at the Garden

Doc Rivers (left) and Ray Allen at TD Garden in 2013.
Doc Rivers (left) and Ray Allen at TD Garden in 2013.jared wickerham/Getty file

Ray Allen didn’t attend Paul Pierce’s number retirement ceremony Sunday, instead choosing to leave a long note of congratulations on Instagram Monday.

Allen has taken criticism not only for passing on the ceremony but for posting a picture of himself along with comedian George Lopez golfing on the same day. Clippers coach Doc Rivers defended Allen Wednesday, saying that Allen did consider attending the ceremony but was unsure about potential backlash from Celtics fans.

“Listen, I think that’s going to happen,” Rivers said of a potential Big Three reunion. “I did think it would have been great for Ray to have been there. But there’s just angst right now, and in Ray’s defense, I know he thought about coming. I can tell you that, because I talked to him personally.

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“He didn’t know if he should. He didn’t know if it was the right time. He really didn’t want to take anything away from Paul or be a distraction, and he won’t be, and that’s what we’ve got to convince him of. If he would have been there, the fans would have cheered for him. That will happen eventually; you’ve just got to figure out when.”

Allen’s Instagram post:

View this post on Instagram

What we did in 2008 was special! Not only by Boston standards but by professional sports standards. The truth is, without any one of us on that team we would’ve never been able to do the unthinkable. Going from last place in one year to winning a championship is unfathomable. But, we did it! WE did it- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, Scott Pollard, James Posey, Leon Powe, Gabe Pruitt, Brian Scalabrine, Doc, Danny, everyone at the Celtics Organization, our wives, children, families, the Fans in The City of Boston and yes, me. Over the last few years I have been berated, lambasted and had my name smeared. You may not want to hear this, but I will always be a Celtic. (Fact). I will always cherish the bonds that I shared with all of my teammates and the people in the city of Boston. (Truth). We all gave everything we had. We all won and we all raised the 2008 NBA Championship banner together. (Ubuntu) Paul Pierce is the first guy that welcomed Kevin and me with open arms into his atmosphere from day one and we never looked back. Paul and I have spoken about our time together as teammates- going to battle night after night knowing we could count on one another and we have also talked about my decision to leave during free agency- a choice I made for my family. Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored- there is nothing but love. Paul and I are more interested in building bridges than putting up walls. To Paul, number 34, Congratulations on having your number raised up to the rafters. I salute you for your commitment to the city of Boston and to us the 2008 NBA Champions #thetruth

A post shared by Ray Allen (@trayfour) on

Allen, Pierce, and Kevin Garnett helped the Celtics to their first championship in 22 years in 2008. But Allen angered his Celtics teammates in 2012 by signing a two-year, $6 million deal with the Miami Heat instead of accepting a two-year, $12 million offer from Boston.

By the time the Celtics made that offer to Allen, they had already signed veteran shooter Jason Terry, and they had passed on an opportunity to extend Allen’s contract during the previous season.

An offended Allen was courted by Heat president Pat Riley and superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and he won a title with Miami in 2013. Allen hit one of the biggest shots in team history, an improbable 3-pointer to send Game 6 of the Finals to overtime.

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Since his retirement, Allen has said he wants to mend fences with his former teammates. He talked extensively with Pierce in China last October and they posted a picture together on Instagram.

Yet Garnett and another former teammate, Rajon Rondo, haven’t been so receptive about a reunion.

“I think it has been smoothed out a little bit,” Rivers said. “I think it’s the next step now where everybody gets together. It’s more Ray was worried about the fans and everything.

“It will happen, though. I’m sure it will. Ray deserves it. Without Ray, we don’t win a world championship.”


Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.