Sunday, March 4, 2012
Notes: Ray leaves Knicks sick to stomach
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- It's a far-too-familiar script (for opponents at least): Ray Allen has a quiet game only to break out at a key moment with a game-changing 3-pointer. Allen might have been battling the lingering effects of the norovirus Sunday, but it was Knicks fans who were left sick to their stomachs after Allen's overtime exploits.
Limited to 2-of-6 shooting for six points through regulation, Allen, who sat out Friday's game due to the stomach bug, made consecutive baskets in overtime -- a monster 3-pointer from the right wing and a layup on the fast break -- to give the Celtics a five-point cushion they utilized to emerge with a 115-111 triumph at TD Garden.
"We call Ray, 'Jesus' -- for obvious reasons," Kevin Garnett said. "And if you don’t know, it’s because he was in a movie ["He Got Game"] and that was his name. And [a character in the movie] used to have a saying that, ‘[Jesus] might not be there when you start, but he’s there when you need him.’ That pretty much sums up Ray. He has a lot of confidence in his shot, a lot of confidence in his ability. We do too. Although he didn’t have the game he wanted, where he’s most impressive is being able to hit big shots."
Allen said before Sunday's game that he spent much of Thursday at New England Baptist Hospital as he was unable to keep down any food. He missed Friday's game and spent Saturday's practice watching from afar so as not to infect any teammates.
But when the Celtics needed him on Sunday, there he was hitting big shots, even when the Knicks made a concerted effort to limit him. Allen finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting over 45 minutes.
"Ray struggled tonight, partly because he was sick, partly because [the Knicks] did a heck of a job on him," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They decided to take Ray out of the game. We started the second half and we used Ray as a picker -- he's picking everyone and getting guys open because no one was getting off his body. And that was effective for us. It was just one of those nights."
But then came the opportunities while running with Rondo in transition in overtime. The 3-pointer broke the game's final tie (at 105) and along with the layup that followed shortly thereafter produced the final two of Rondo's 20 assists.
"We told him, 'Listen, you're not getting open unless it's transition,'" Rivers said. "We actually came out on the first play of overtime and we got him a wide-open shot, but the pass was off the mark, it was low. But the greatest part about Ray Allen, over any player that I've coached and it's rare, he can miss all of his shots, but if you draw up a play for him at the end of the game -- and he gets open -- he's probably going to make it. There's not a lot of guys like that."
Allen kept a sense of humor about his illness.
"You know, it's interesting, any time you get sick, the one thing [the doctors] always tell you is, 'There’s something going around,'" Allen said. "I was curious, I wonder if I broke my leg or something, if they’d say, 'Oh, there's something going around.’ They told me I had norovirus, that's the first time I've heard of it. My kids had a bout of it before I came home, so I don’t know if I got it for them. It came out of nowhere. It kind of whacked me."
A handful of other notes from Sunday's game:
* Garnett summed up Paul Pierce's game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation as, "Classic Truth, man. Classic Truth. It was beautiful." Pierce finished with a game-high 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists over 46 minutes. Of course, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who once famously wondered out loud, "I'd like to see [Rondo] play in Minnesota and see how he does," opined on Pierce's shot, "I don’t know if that’s execution, that’s having a horseshoe up your rear."
* Here's D'Antoni explaining his decision not to foul on the Celtics' final possession with one to give: "We don’t do it, we don’t do that. There was like five seconds left, so when do you do it. They’d just take it out on the side and they’d get back into it. We play it out. Now, if it got down below three seconds, we tell a guy work the guy within the 2-point line, yes, but when they are outside like that and they can go up at any minute, no.”
* Carmelo Anthony on missing a chance at the winner at the end of regulation: "It had a chance to go in. I had a chance to make it, I missed it. It happens.” Anthony finished with a team-high 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting with seven rebounds over 35:24. When he got a look at Rondo's triple-double stat line (18 points, 17 rebounds, 20 assists), he said, "I didn’t know Rondo played that well, either. He played extremely well tonight and put that team on his back.”
* Pierce on a reinvigorated Celtics-Knicks rivalry: "You know what it is, you’ve got an Atlantic [Division] rivalry. It’s not only been this season, it’s been since they traded for Amare [Stoudemire] and Carmelo and they became relevant again. It’s just something about that New York-Boston rivalry. You know the games, you see the energy -- watching the crowd, the energy in the stands, [or] when you go to Madison [Square Garden], when you come here -- that’s just the way it is. Those games seem to always come down to the last second.”
* Allen earned a double technical with the Knicks' JR Smith for some innocuous pushing and jawing early in the fourth quarter. ... New York's Iman Shumpert drew a technical soon after for getting a little loud in the direction of Garnett after a highlight-worthy dunk.
* Brandon Bass missed a stretch during the second half while getting his left ankle taped. He returned in the fourth quarter and looked no worse for the wear after the game.