Boston Celtics: Ray Allen
The Heat and Brooklyn Nets have the jerseys planned for this season and will wear them when they meet March 12 and April 8.
Fans can purchase their own versions of the jerseys starting Jan. 14 at a price of $109.95.
The league and the players have been a little secretive about what nicknames have been chosen. It seems pretty obvious that LeBron James will have "King James" on the back of his jersey, Paul Pierce with have "The Truth" and Jason Terry will have "Jet."
His uncertainty was apparently justified, as a video tribute to Allen during a timeout minutes into the first quarter -- the first real acknowledgement of Allen's presence on Sunday -- was met with a hearty blend of cheers and boos. Some fans stood and applauded, while others remained in their seats, arms crossed. When Allen checked into the game several minutes later, the boos far outweighed the cheers, and it remained that way for the rest of the afternoon.
Celtics fans went home happy as their team downed Allen and the Heat 100-98 in double overtime.
"I didn't know what to expect," Allen said after scoring 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting over 38 minutes. "The one thing I was going to do is come into it and just focus on being prepared and getting the guys ready that were playing, that were starting the game. Early game is always tough regardless of the circumstances. I didn't expect to get booed the whole time, throughout the game, when I touched the ball. That was interesting."
"It's tough," Allen said of being back in TD Garden for the first time since leaving for Miami this offseason. "This is a building I've won a lot of big games in, played in a lot of big games. This building has special moments, special feelings for me. It's good to be back, but under different circumstances."
As a video tribute to Allen began to play on the JumboTron during the first TV timeout, a few boos bounced around the arena before quickly shifting to a standing ovation as the video culminated with Allen and his Celtics teammates celebrating the 2007-08 championship and the message, "Thanks for the memories, Ray."
Allen was promptly showered with boos when he checked in soon after and Boston fans jeered each time he touched the ball over the rest of the first half.
Asked by Burke about the tribute, Allen said, "People asked me how I'd feel coming in here and I said I would take a business mentality approach. When I got here, I remembered so many things and so many people. The emotions welled up in me. So I felt happy they acknowledged it, but you want to get it over with at the same time."
In the video above, Stephen A. Smith tells Skip Bayless that he has no problem with Kevin Garnett's snub of Ray Allen at the Celtics-Heat game on Tuesday night.
"KG is not wrong, not in any way," says Smith. "He is absolutely right for being as standoffish as he appeared."
What do you think? Weigh in below in the comments section.
The Heat defeated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals in seven games and beat the Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals.
“I won't take this moment for granted,” James said at the Heat’s morning shootaround in Miami. “It doesn't happen to everyone. I know the history of the game. I'm going to live in the moment, I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm not.
“I'll live in the moment because it is not given. I know, I've seen it over and over and over as the years go on.”
Ironically, James and his Cleveland Cavaliers had to witness the Celtics hang Banner 17 in the TD Garden rafters on opening night 2008. The Celtics defeated the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semifinals en route to the 2007-08 title.
“They get to have their day,” Rivers said Tuesday morning. “We had our day and LeBron had to sit and watch that. He’s probably been through several of them now that I think of it. This time it’s his payback night and he deserves it.”
How will the Heat respond on what is sure to be an emotional night for them? Rivers remembered being moved by the opening night ceremony in 2008 and predicted his team would struggle in the game that immediately followed.
“When Paul (Pierce) started crying I remembered turning to my assistant coach and saying ‘We have no chance tonight’ instead of thinking about how nice it was that he was emotional.”
The Celtics actually won that game, 90-85, after trailing by seven points at halftime.
After the Heat won the 2006 NBA title, they got blown out on the night they got their rings at the start of the 2006-07 season, losing to the Chicago Bulls by 42 points. Dwyane Wade was on that team and will participate in his second ring ceremony Tuesday night.
“I am not a good example of the ring ceremony so I keep my mouth shut,” Wade said Tuesday. “I don't want to relive that moment. We didn't do it right so I can't give nobody any advice. If anything, do the opposite of what we did.”
As for what he expects from the Celtics tonight, Rivers said he anticipated it would only be a building block to better things, not a pinnacle.
“Whatever you do tonight, hopefully it’s not the best night of the year,” Rivers said. “That’s the way I always look at opening night. It’s a season of building and it’s a process you have to go through. After the game is over it’s just one game.
“Obviously you’re playing Miami and you add in the Ray (Allen) component to that, even though I don’t think it means as much as people think it does. … I’m sure we’ll be up and they’ll be up, but I guarantee (Heat coach) Erik (Spoelstra) will say the same thing. If this is your best game of the year then you’re in trouble.”
Rivers said he hasn’t spoken with Allen in Miami and didn’t say whether he intended to. Tuesday will mark the first time Allen will face the Celtics in a Heat uniform. Allen defected from the Celtics to join the Heat in the offseason, despite a more lucrative offer from Boston.
As for the makeup of his starting lineup for tonight’s opener, Rivers was mum.
“We’ll tell it later,” he said. “It’s no big deal but we’ll tell it later.”
Information from ESPN.com’s Tom Haberstroh was used in this report.
“I’m excited for these guys having spent time with them for last 2-3 months,” Allen said Monday. “But at the same time, they beat me and put us out. I understand the emotions Boston will feel watching the ceremony.”
Despite a breakup that’s been rife with mudslinging, Allen doesn’t totally seem have his “us’s” and “they’s” straight in the Heat-Celtics rivalry that most recently includes the Heat’s victory in the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. Allen is very much at the center of the rivalry now after signing with the Heat last summer after the Celtics offered him double the Heat’s offer to stay in Boston.
Once the Heat get their rings and raise their banner Tuesday -- the Celtics are expected to stay in the locker room as is routine in such situations -- much attention will be focused on Allen going against his former teammates.
“These guys are my friends,” Allen said. “People think I have some sort of animosity or bad blood against them, I don’t. I’ve said it time and time again, we’ve shared the most special thing in sports and that’s going all the way to the top. That’s always going to be No. 1, closest to my heart. So when I see Paul, I’m not going to be angry at him or anyone else. I’m happy to see these guys.”
During the preseason the Celtics and Allen have lobbed cross words back-and-forth via the media. Kevin Garnett said he lost Allen’s phone number, Doc Rivers said ego played a role in Allen’s departure, Rajon Rondo has taken to not using Allen’s name and just calling him “No. 20.” Meanwhile, Allen has dragged up stories from as far back as 2009 that caused him angst as a member of the team.
Tired of all the build up, the Celtics players didn’t even want to talk about it anymore on Monday.
“We’re not going to make this into a Ray Allen vs. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Rondo thing,” Pierce said. “Right now my focus is playing against the Miami Heat. Everything has already happened. He’s here, he’s happy to be here, you wish him the best for his family.”
“I don’t have a take on (Allen),” Garnett said. “I’m here to the play the game and get the hell up out of here, point blank.”
Allen said he had not yet considered plans to greet former teammates and coaches prior to Tuesday’s game. But he does expect some cold interactions.
“It’s nothing personal, you want to beat the other team,” Allen said. “I think with anybody with not on the Celtic team, it’s always frosty. You don’t like the opponent.”
Read more on Allen over at the Heat Index.
* Did Rivers try to call Allen this offseason?: “I tried to call him. After the year we talked fine. Then when free agency started Ray didn’t return Danny’s calls or my calls, so I stopped trying,” said Rivers. “If you’ve been here for five years and I have to call you every 10 seconds in free agency, you probably don’t want to be here.”
* Did he notice Allen's hurt feelings during the season?: “You worry about a guy’s feelings, but you worry more about the team. If anything, Ray probably didn’t like that,” he said of his decision to start Bradley. “I’ll always look at myself first with Ray; he wanted to ball more and things like that. I tell my guys every year, if you’re here for me to run stuff for you to look good, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re here for me to run stuff to make the team look good, you’re in the right place.”
“Ray was great for us, and I won’t go away from that,” Rivers added. “Why it ended the way it ended, I really don’t know. I think it was ego than anything else. I do think it’s easier for players to go somewhere else and play a backup role than the place they were a star at.”
“The other stuff, the bad relationships and all of that, I didn’t think that existed,” said Doc. “Rondo and Ray had their days, but so did anybody. That’s part of being a family and a team. I never thought it was to a point during the season Ray would leave.”
* On Ray’s attitude this offseason: “I don’t know if I’m surprised or disappointed, your choice, Ray was great here. He made the choice to leave, and that’s where he should leave it and we should leave.”
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On Friday, Garnett said he is no longer speaking to longtime Boston Celtics teammate Allen after he signed with the rival Miami Heat over the summer.
Speaking Saturday after his first official practice with the Heat, Allen said he was disappointed at Garnett's sentiment.
"That's a shame," Allen said. "I'm a good person to talk to on the phone. ... I've been in weird trade situations the last few years. You always felt you had one foot in and one foot out so I can't worry about it."
Allen signed a two-year deal with Miami for just a little over $6 million, spurning an offer from Boston that was believed to be worth twice as much.
"I don't have Ray's number anymore," Garnett said Friday. "I'm not trying to communicate. I'm just being honest with everybody in here. ... It's just what it is."
Garnett had lobbied Allen aggressively over the summer when Allen was making a decision.
"I don't know how many miles apart we are, sometimes the translation gets messed up," Allen said. "We're friends regardless of what happens. He's got to do what he's got to do up in Boston."
Allen's new teammates, of course, were offering support.
"(Garnett) doesn't need to be talking to our team anyway, so it's all good," Dwyane Wade said. "(Allen) doesn't look too bad in a Heat uniform, at first it was weird but now I'm getting used to it."
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett said he has not communicated with Ray Allen since he signed with the rival Miami Heat this offseason, and Garnett stressed it was a personal choice.
"I don’t have Ray’s number any more," Garnett said at the Celtics' media day at their training center on Friday. "I’m not trying to communicate. I'm just being honest with everybody in here... It’s just what it is.
Pressed on why he cut off contact with Allen, Garnett added, "I choose not to. I choose -- that’s a choice I personally made. I told you all, I’m very close to Ray. I know his family. I wish nothing but the best for him and his family. I'm just making a choice on my own. That’s all."
Garnett, who signed a three-year, $36-million contract extension this offseason, suggested he was not upset with Allen's decision, but clearly wasn't thrilled with it after Boston reassembled its core from a season that ended against Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"When a guy makes a decision based on him and his family, you can’t ever get upset at that," said Garnett. "My personal feeling, I won’t put into it. The only thing I’ll say is I wish Ray the best. That’s where it’s at."
Garnett said he's more concerned about the guys that are on the Celtics' roster and not the ones that are not.
"I’m focusing on [Jason Terry] and Courtney Lee, the new guys that are here," said Garnett. "I wasn’t going to come here and answer a bunch of Ray Allen questions, I was going to answer one time and then focus on what’s right here in this gym, what’s present. And that’s where I’m at."
Informed of coach Doc Rivers' suggestion that he wants the Celtics to heat the Heat, Garnett said he wouldn't focus on one team.
"It's not just the Heat, but everybody," said Garnett. "The goal here is to win [a championship]. And whoever is in the way of that, is in the way. If it’s not MIami, if it’s not whoever, it’s the whole league. Obviously [the Heat] won it and they are the defending champions, I respect that. Along that road to the goal, whoever is in the way is in the way. It’s not just one particular team."
Celtics captain Paul Pierce said that Garnett had told him he was toying with the idea of retirement last season, but Garnett laughed it off, saying he never used the word "retire" with Pierce. Garnett did give thought to hanging up his high-tops after last season.
"I was a free agent," he said, "and I had to make a decision I definitely thought was best for me to move forward. I'm excited about where I'm going. ... I don't know what to expect, but I know what I expect from myself."
Allen said his ankle is now about 75 to 80 percent healthy, and he expects to be 100 percent when training camp starts next month. The Heat will open the season against the Celtics.
"I look at the guys I played with five years," he said. "I played seven years with the Bucks and four with Seattle, so at some point you're always going to have ex-teammates. But winning [a championship] with the guys in Boston, I have a bond with them. It's going to be a special game, though I am not an emotional person."
The big news in the NBA this week was the trade of Dwight Howard to the Lakers, who figure to go into the season as the biggest threat to unseat the Heat.
"They definitely bolstered their lineup," Allen said. "But [departed] Andrew Bynum helped them win championships. They've been very tough the last five or six years, and they will continue to be tough, another formidable opponent we're going to have to deal with."
Hop HERE to read the Courant's full story.
* Forsberg's note: There's a persistent group of commenters (and Twitterers, too) that have lamented how often now-departed Ray Allen appears in offseason stories. Some like to point out how we wrote that Celtics fans need to move on last month. There's an important distinction here: you can't simply ignore Allen. Let's face it, it was a monster story this offseason and there's going to be fallout all summer and into the regular season, too (maybe only opening night in Miami will start to diminish it, only for it to build back up when he returns to the Garden later in the season). Reaction from his former teammates, particularly ones he had a profound impact on, will remain headline news in this space. The aim of last month's column was to suggest that there's no sense lamenting Allen's departure, not to imply that all Allen news should be ignored. Again, beyond the re-signing of Kevin Garnett, Allen remains one of the biggest storylines of the offseason and there's going to be plenty of dissection during these summer doldrums.
After all, it was just two summers ago that Pierce, fresh off inking a long-term extension, expressed dismay after the Celtics watched Tony Allen leave for Memphis and scrambled to fill out their roster. In mid-July that year, Pierce lamented that only "slim pickings" remained and opined: "Sometimes I'm looking at all the players signing and wish we would get on the ball a little bit. I trust in Danny to put a good team around us, but I'm sitting here watching all these good players fall to other teams."
This summer, it was the rest of the league kicking dirt as the Celtics snatched up many of the top available names, inking Kevin Garnett to a three-year contract extension before free agency even opened, then reassembling the team's core. Yes, the Celtics lost Ray Allen to rival Miami -- this despite positioned to offer twice as much money with a two-year, $12 million offer -- but brought in both Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to offset the loss.
"I love what Danny's been able to do," Pierce told the team website in a video interview this week. "It was a tough decision this summer. A lot was riding on what direction we were going to head in. It was just a domino effect, once we signed Kevin, we knew were going to try to make another run at it. That's pretty much the way I looked at it. Once we signed him, a number of guys were able to jump on board.
"I thought Danny did a good job of trying to replace Ray Allen. As you know Ray Allen went off to Miami, on his choice, but he was a great teammate, it was fun playing with him. But I think the guys coming in here -- Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, trying to get a healthy Jeff Green, even some of our rookies -- I think we've added a lot more depth, and it's going to take a lot of pressure off me this upcoming season."
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