Celtics guard Ray Allen admitted to soreness in his left shoulder and left side after stepping into a blindside fourth-quarter screen set by Houston's Jared Jeffries, but was waiting until morning to see how much pain lingered from the incident that briefly chased him from Monday's game.
Allen was defending ball-handler Courtney Lee on the left wing when Jeffries approached and set a pick that Allen couldn't avoid as he turned to chase Lee on a drive. Allen crumpled to the floor and soon departed the game, getting a brief examination from trainer Ed Lacerte before returning after five minutes on the bench.
Allen hit a 3-pointer with little more than two minutes to go, the final of his team-high 19 points on the night, but figured adrenaline was propelling him at that point.
"I just took a hard hit and kind of collapsed on [the left] side," said Allen. "I’m sore. I’ll see how it feels [Tuesday]."
Asked what hurts, Allen said, "My shoulder, but kind of my side. You get so much adrenaline running that you don’t really feel it. Once I got in the [locker room], it got sore."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers suggested a foul should have been called, but Allen just shrugged at the question of whether it was an illegal screen.
“I don’t even know; I was on the ground," Allen said. "The rule states that if there’s a screen set, you have to give the person a chance to see the screen and then move out the way. I didn’t even know the screen was there and when I went to step, I just hit the screen, and it caught me like on the side of my hip. That’s basketball."
Allen seemed more concerned about Boston's defensive effort than his own ailment, lamenting how the Celtics let a winnable game slip away because of preventable lapses.
“I don’t want to have regret, I’d rather work 10 times harder than what we’re doing than have regrets," Allen said. "Looking back on what we could have done, putting ourselves in bad situations, each team we play they are formidable opponents and all they need is a little confidence. Our job is to take it away from them, and I thought we did a poor job of that."
--ADELMAN OFFERS HIGH PRAISE FOR WAFER--
Celtics guard Von Wafer spent his finest NBA season with the Rockets in 2008-09, but any mention of that season seems to include a public confrontation with Houston coach Rick Adelman that sent Wafer to the locker room in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.
Adelman suggested before Monday's game that Wafer's tenure in Houston had far more ups than downs.
"He had a lot of ups for us. Everyone remembers the one incident, but that wasn't that big of a deal, personally," Adelman said. "He played very well for us, gave us a real spark off the bench. He won a lot of games for us. He's a guy that, once he gets comfortable, he's a real threat. I think he's going to help [the Celtics] eventually. Obviously, they have a lot of veterans and he hasn't seen the time that we needed him to play when we had him."
Wafer averaged a career-best 9.7 points over 19.4 minutes per game in Houston. This season, he's averaging 2.2 points over 7 minutes per game in 30 appearances for the Celtics. Wafer, who admitted to being a little extra excited to see old friends Monday, scored six points over nine minutes, providing a highlight-worthy, one-handed jam in the first half.
Adelman did admit that Wafer's defense might have been a bit lacking in Houston.
"Hit and miss -- more of a gambler," Adelman said. "Not a great defender, more of an offensive player. He's with a team now that's very good defensively and that should rub off on him. He could be a factor. He's got the quickness and athletic ability. The concentration wasn't always there."
Rivers said Wafer has made great strides defensively, realizing that's the key to playing time in Boston.
"He’s improved," Rivers said. "He wasn’t [a defensive player], wasn’t when he first got here. He’s working on it, and it’s a focus. Von viewed himself, probably throughout his career so far, as an offensive player. I give him a lot of credit, he's doing -- or trying to do -- what he needs to play and that’s defend. He’s getting there."
--LOOSE BALLS: NOT KG'S FAULT; BABY'S MINUTES; LONG OVERNIGHT TRIP--
* Rivers immediately dismissed the notion that Monday's loss could be blamed on the absence of defensive quarterback Kevin Garnett.
“No, it’s mental -- it had nothing to do with him," Rivers said. "This game had nothing to do with Kevin Garnett. Kevin Garnett didn’t play, and it had nothing to do with it.”
* Rivers reiterated a need to drive down minutes for Garnett's power forward fill-in, Glen Davis, who is averaging 35.6 minutes per contest during Garnett's seven-game absence.
"He’s getting too many minutes, quite honestly," Rivers said. "Thirty-eight minutes is too many for Baby. We don’t have a lot of options right now. [Rookie] Luke [Harangody] is playing OK, but we may have to go small. But that’s too many minutes and that’s on me. Baby shouldn’t play more than in the 30-range because I think the fatigue is bothering him."
Davis again led the team in field goal attempts, connecting on 6-of-14 shots for 12 points over 37:49. He added five rebounds, four steals and a block.
* His team playing its sixth game in nine nights, Adelman wasn't thrilled with having to travel to Boston for a one-game road trip. "It's very odd," he said. "We'll have to send the league a geographic map of the United States. I don’t know how they make the schedule, but you've got to play it. Everyone has quirks like that. It seems strange, but that's the way it is."