Celtics guard Ray Allen shoots vs. the Knicks last year.BOSTON -- With the Celtics set to trek to New York on Christmas Day, veteran guard Ray Allen said he’s anticipating a different kind of holiday this year.
“People have been asking me am I excited about Christmas?” Allen said. “And I know what their intentions are and their meanings behind it. But, in my mind, I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s Christmas. I’m excited every year for Christmas.’
“[But] these last couple years, for me, mentally it’s kind of hard looking at it as Christmas Day because we’re playing. And Christmases that I’ve had over years past, you know, I wake up and typically the day is off. So to me it’s a gameday now. And that’s how I’ve been [thinking about it] … It won’t be a typical Christmas for me, or pretty much most of the guys on this team.”
Allen is no stranger to working on the holiday, including last year and 2009 in Orlando and 2008 in Los Angeles, where the Celtics carried a 19-game winning streak into a matchup with the Lakers, only to have it snapped. That year, the Celtics had already played 29 games to that point. This Christmas, they’ll have played no games, yet. Boston and New York tip-off the entire 2011-12 regular-season schedule as the first of five holiday games.
Asked if he’s worried that the team may not be ready, Allen said, “No, but [getting going] is always a process."
Grinding into gear, Allen said, is more a matter of timing than anything else.
“Most of the plays, we got great position players but the timing is so important,” he said. “It’s executing out of timeouts, it’s out-of-bounds plays, it’s everything that you have an opportunity to put in when you have preseason games spread throughout the two-week period, and you have scrimmaging amongst the teams in the evening times when we have two-a-days. [This year] we just don’t have that. And nobody has it. So it just requires an intense amount of focus for everybody when they’re out there.
“But with the guys that are on the team, we look around and see [Brandon] Bass and [Chris] Wilcox and [Keyon] Dooling -- guys that are veteran players that we expect a great deal from. The four of us that have been here for an extended period of time [Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo], we have to play our best basketball and we have to make sure we bring everybody along. You look at a guy like Jermaine [O’Neal], [he] has a full year [now]. Everybody here has to be good. We can’t be dead weight, any of us.”