AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Memphis Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen shows off his jersey.BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 98-80 Sunday afternoon at TD Garden:
DNP CAN'T OVERSHADOW BOSTON RETURN FOR TONY ALLEN
Old friend Tony Allen knows all too well the frustration of being pinned to the bench at TD Garden. Despite currently playing some of the most inspired ball of his career, he was forced to sit out Sunday's game against his former team due to left knee and hip soreness.
Talking with Boston reporters before Sunday's game, a mellow Allen, who must have known his injuries would prevent him from getting on the floor, discussed comments he previously made about feeling "overshadowed" in Boston where his court time was limited, particularly given his emergence this season as a starter in Memphis.
"When I was saying 'overshadowed,' I felt like I couldn't get any further than where I was, playing behind Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, those Hall-of-Fame guys," said Allen, who is averaging 10.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals over 25.3 minutes per game this season in 23 starts. "On paper, you would be a fool to play Tony Allen in front of Ray Allen or you'd be a fool to play Tony Allen in front of Paul Pierce. I wouldn't blame anybody for that decision. But like I said, it's just a chapter in my book and I'm starting a new one. And I'm enjoying it. I'm loving it, and success is here and the sky's the limit for Tony Allen over here."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn't necessarily disagree with Allen, who played only 16.5 minutes per game during his final season in Boston (emerging as a true defensive stopper late in the year and aiding Boston's run to the NBA Finals).
"No matter what he did, he was only going to play a certain amount of minutes," Rivers said. "You have Ray and Paul in front of you. I don’t know, 'overshadow' was probably not the word he was looking for. A guy like Tony should and deserves to play 30 minutes per game. But on this team he couldn’t. Where I appreciated him is that he accepted that. It was never an issue. He wanted to play more, but he understood our team, he understood his value to our team and that’s cool to me. I wish we had a whole bunch of him out there."
Feeling like he wasn't a top priority, Allen spurned the Celtics two summers ago to sign with the Grizzlies at comparable money. In a way, he's proven his belief that he could be a bigger contributor elsewhere with his efforts in Memphis.
"At the end of the day, I'm going to believe in me," Allen said. "I'm going to believe in me. If you don't believe in yourself, who will? So, like I said, my motto is, 'Grit and grind,' and I'm going to grind. I'm going to go hard, and that's what I'm going to do -- 'til the wheels blow up."
Allen did soften a bit when the subject turned to being back in Boston and he admitted it does mean a lot to him to come back to the place where his NBA career started and where he won an NBA title with the 2007-08 group.
"That's where I got my ring at, that's where I did six years of my career at," Allen said. "I learned a lot, been around a lot of great people in this organization. I mean, it's an emotional place to come back to."
RIVERS NO FAN OF EARLY STARTS ... IN BOSTON
Even though his team shook some early cobwebs and put together a solid overall defensive effort Sunday, Rivers is no fan of noon starts. At least on the Celtics' home turf.
"I like them on the road. I really do, I’ve always liked that," Rivers said. "I just think with the road, you're in a game mode because you’re in a hotel, you're on a bus, you’re getting ready for a game. At home, it takes away your advantage. It’s normal to get up at your normal time. It kind of throws you out of whack as well. And I hate it against athletic energy teams because they are going to wake up athletic."
Rivers wasn't sure exactly how to provide a morning jolt for players used to doing their business after the sun goes down.
"I was going to play some music, do a song or something, but I decided to skip that," Rivers said. "There's nothing you can do. I’ve always said, even as a player, you either wake up, or you wake up late."
The Celtics will reap the benefits from what's now a four-game winning streak on Monday: The team will not practice and players can sleep as late as they want.
LOOSE BALLS: BENCH COMES UP BIG FOR INJURED PLAYERS
* Celtics captain Paul Pierce liked what he saw from Boston's bench, particularly with key reserve Brandon Bass out because of a sore left knee. "Our bench was phenomenal today," Pierce said. "Really, Chris Wilcox came in at first and gave us a huge lift, and obviously JaJuan [Johnson]. I always talk to the younger guys and always tell them to be ready because it’s a long season and your number’s going to eventually get called at some point or another. And you have to be ready."
* Bass seemed in good spirits as he passed through the locker room after Sunday's game. It doesn't appear his sore knee is anything to be overly concerned about at the moment.
* The Grizzlies, who dominated points in the paint in past meetings, finished with just 34 this time around. Boston owned a 44-34 advantage in that category. ... Boston also won the battle on the glass, outrebounding Memphis, 45-38. The Grizzlies came up with 15 offensive rebounds, but emerged with only 11 second-chance points.