Boston Celtics: Game 41
The way Celtics coach Doc Rivers looked at it, Ray Allen actually had a better chance of making a shot with every one he missed. And he missed plenty of them.
Allen, who misfired on 11 of his first 13 shots of the night and missed a pair of free throws, drilled a pivotal 3-pointer with 41.3 seconds remaining in the extra session as Boston rallied from its only deficit of the night.
"We got him good shots," said Rivers. "Listen, he had one of those nights. I think he missed two technical foul shots, probably for the first time in his career, who knows? But shooters shoot and eventually you just have to think the odds [are with you]. Every miss meant the odds were on our side more [that Allen would make the next one] is the way I was looking at it.”
Allen, who's shooting a career-worst 35.1 percent from 3-point land this season, has connected on just three of his last 17 shots from beyond the arc. But it didn't matter Friday, he made the last one.
"Ray is one of the great shooters of all time -- he’s right behind me," joked Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "I told him that in the huddle. He had the looks, but the one we needed he was able to knock it down. That’s how much we believe in Ray.”
Like any good shooter, Allen refused to pin the blame on himself. As Rivers noted, great shooters think the next shot is always going to go in, and that's what separates them from good shooters, who might typically stop firing away when the shots won't fall.
"There wasn't anything wrong with my form or my mechanics," said Allen. "[The shots] just wouldn't go in."
Allen finished with nine points on 3-of-14 shooting with four assists and three rebounds over a team-high 43 minutes.
Opposing View: 'We lost him'
Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillian lamented the fact that his team let Allen get open for the game-changing 3-pointer in the extra session.
"We lost him early," said McMillian. "I think a possession before that he missed a 3, but then we lost him again, and he hit that same shot. You know he’s gonna knock that shot down. They’re looking for him. He had time to see the rim and... that second one, he doesn’t [usually miss] again.”
On the positive side, McMillian raved about Andre Miller, who kept injury-depleted Portland in the contest by pouring in a game-high 28 points with eight rebounds and eight assists over 47 minutes.
“I thought he kept us in it, helped us fight back to take the lead," said McMillian. "[Boston] ended up being aggressive, pressuring him to bring the ball down the floor. He made some big plays, we tried to go to him. I thought that last 3 he took, he had heavy legs. I think he wanted to try and go, but just couldn’t on that possession."
Miller admitted his overtime 3-pointer with 1:21 to go might have been ill-advised given his heavy legs, but he felt like he could put the game out of reach. He didn't see any silver lining in the loss.
"There’s no moral victories, we let another one slip away," said Miller. "We talked about our execution down the stretch, we had turnovers at the wrong time, and that’s the game.”
Doc's Opinion: Not a pretty win
Rivers acknowledged it wasn't the prettiest win of the 2009-10 season, especially as the Celtics watched another double-digit lead evaporate while nearly letting the visitors escape with a win. But he found plenty of positives.
"It was a good victory for us in the fact that, offensively, we couldn’t ask for better shots," said Rivers. "We missed layups, free throws. I think in the second quarter we had that three layups in a row that we missed. [Rajon] Rondo missed a big layup down the stretch. We missed wide-open shots. We missed free throws. But our defense hung in there. And what we’ve been talking about the last two or three days is that, at some point, we’ve got to turn back into that defensive team that doesn’t rely on great offense.
"I believe we’re going to be great offensively, the numbers say it. Field goal percentage and all that. We’re going to get good shots. But when your offense fails, you’ve got to be able to be a great defensive team and get stops. And that’s what this game turned into. So it wasn't pretty, but, in some ways for us, the way we won may have been better for us.”
Scal on the shelf
Brian Scalabrine missed Friday's game with what was dubbed a "sore right shoulder," but, after the game, he told WEEI.com's Jessica Camerato that it's actually a separated shoulder suffered earlier this month against the Miami Heat.
Rivers indicated the reserve forward will be sidelined through at least Monday's game against the Clippers, while Scalabrine suggested Thursday's visit to Orlando is his current target date to return.
BOSTON -- After missing the past 10 games with a hyperextended right knee, how did Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett sum up his return to the court? One of the the greatest players in NBA history compared himself to one of the worst automobiles of all time.
"The old '76 Pinto got banged up against the wall a little bit," Garnett said on the heels of the Boston Celtics' 98-95 overtime triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers at the TD Garden. "You just keep hitting the gas and it keeps going."
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BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Boston Celtics posted a 98-95 overtime triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night at the TD Garden:
How the game was won: Celtics guard Ray Allen shrugged off a poor-shooting performance to bury a go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime as Boston escaped after watching the Blazers rally in the fourth quarter to force the extra session. Celtics captain Paul Pierce scored a team-high 24 points, but fouled out driving to the basket for a game-winning attempt in the final moments of regulation. Andre Miller poured in a game-high 28 points for the injury depleted Blazers.
Turning point: Ray Allen, just 2 of 13 on the night and having missed a technical free throw in overtime, drained a 3-pointer with 41.3 seconds to play in the extra session to put Boston on top, 96-95. Moments later, Allen corralled a long rebound and fed teammate Tony Allen for a fastbreak dunk with 12.5 seconds to go.
Stat of the game:Ray Allen finished 3 of 14 overall from the floor and 2 of 4 from the free throw line, but produced the biggest shot of the night when it mattered most.
Unsung hero: Tony Allen, quiet as of late, chipped in eight points on 4 of 5 shooting, finishing with a team-best, plus-10 in plus/minus category.
What it means: At this point, beggars can't be choosers, and the Celtics will take an ugly win, snapping a three-game skid. Garnett's return provided a spark, but the Celtics still struggled in the second half and let the Trail Blazers hang around until the buzzer.
KG returns to starting lineup
After a dramatic pause, Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed forward Kevin Garnett will return to the starting lineup Friday night after a 10-game absence.
"He looked great -- he looked good today, this morning, yesterday during his little workout with the guys," said Rivers. "So he's good."
Rivers also indicated there would be no restrictions on Garnett, instead the team will allow the 15th-year forward to gauge his own limits.
"There's no minute restriction, we'll go more by his endurance, how he feels on the floor," said Rivers. "As far as the knee, we're not concerned by that.
"He's been running for a good week, week-and-a-half, so he does have some conditioning. But obviously it's not basketball condition. You can work out all you want, but the adrenaline and intensity, it's different when you play a real game. We'll find that out."
Rivers expects Garnett's return to have a trickle-down effect on the struggling Celtics.
"It's good to get Rasheed [Wallace] coming off the bench, it gives our bench a lift," said Rivers. "Over the stretch that Kevin's been out, I think the bench has really struggled at times. [Wallace will] give the bench some pop. That'll be good for us."
ESPN the Magazine's Louise K. Cornetta caught up with Glen "Big Baby" Davis before Friday's game for his player diary that appears exclusively here on the ESPNBoston.com Celtics Blog. Here's a snippet of what Davis had to say after he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for an obscene comment directed at a fan during Wednesday's loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"I shouldn't say those kinds of words," said Davis. "Even though a fan says anything to me, I shouldn't say that. I've got to understand who's watching out there for the kids and the parents. It's just a bad thing to say. You're frustrated. You're mad. That's not what you're supposed to say. You're just supposed to play the game of basketball and don't worry about the fans; that's what they are there for. When a fan talks personal about you in an emotional game, you know, it kind of gets to you, but you can't let it get to you. That's what [fans are] there for, to get you unfocused and frustrated."
Asked about the fine, Celtics coach Doc Rivers tried to bring a little lightheartedness to the situation.
"I don't know -- it was high," said Rivers. "I thought it was extreme, but I do understand. I mean, I get it. You just can't do what he did -- and get caught."
The joke elicited laughter, but Rivers got serious quickly.
"It's very difficult [to not react]," said Rivers. "Some of the things we hear in the crowd, it's amazing. There's been times when I stare up at the guy, hoping a menacing look will stop him, and usually it doesn't. Usually the beer wins out. It is tough, but you have to [show restraint]. We know that. It's not like this is something new, it's been going on for quite a long time. They get on the player -- and they should -- but some of the stuff you hear, from some guy sitting next to his son, it's pretty embarrassing. That's the way I look at it."
Daniels has cast removed
Celtics guard Marquis Daniels, sidelined since Dec. 4 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, had a hard cast removed Thursday and was on the court taking shots before Friday's game.
Daniels said there's a chance he could return before the All-Star break, but admitted the team will take a wait-and-see approach. Wearing a soft cast to prevent bending back the thumb as he expands the range of motion, Daniels hopes to be back on the practice court next week.
"Right now it's not painful, it's just stiff," said Daniels. "[My return] could be earlier [than the All-Star break], it all depends on how my body reacts to it."
Daniels admitted his left forearm is weak from not using the hand over the month-plus stretch since surgery. As he nears the end of his physical recovery, he stresses he's already over the mental hurdles.
"I'm going to try to play with no worries," said Daniels. "Just go out there and play hard. It's over now, I can come back and do it again, but I can't worry about that."
Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine had a sore right shoulder and did not dress for Friday's game, leaving the Celtics with only 11 healthy bodies.
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