Ray Allen greets his former coach, Doc Rivers
The Miami Heat visited the Boston Celtics yesterday in a game that marked Ray Allen's first return to the TD Garden since he left for Miami.
The guard wore green between 2007 and 2012 and was a part of the Big 3 (with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) that took the NBA by storm and went to two Finals, coming within only one game of winning two titles.
Allen left the Celtics after a disappointing 2011-2012 season, in which he lost his starting spot to the defensive specialist Avery Bradley.
Also, rumors were that he and point guard Rajon Rondo could not stand each other—and that would have led to Ray Allen's choice to move to South Beach despite a salary drop.
So, with all that history, Ray Allen returned to Boston yesterday.
Here is the breakdown of his return and what it meant for the Heat guard.
Ray Allen on the FT line
Newsflash: Ray Allen is probably the greatest shooter in NBA history.
OK, so maybe that isn't particularly new anymore, but the fact Allen will have to take all season to adjust to the Heat's offense is.
Let's face it: Ray Allen is a pretty good basketball player, is somewhat athletic and can even handle the ball decently. But, his entire livelihood depends on his shot making. The day Ray Allen starts missing jump shot after jump shot will be the day he will be useless in the NBA.
Well, thankfully for him, he is still making plenty of shots. In fact, he is shooting a higher field-goal percentage than last year, according to ESPN Stats. So, what is the adjustment?
First off, he has never played with so many scorers. Allen was always used to be one of the two or three most important point-getters of his team. He averaged over 20 points per game in Milwaukee and Seattle and never averaged less than 14.2 points per game in Boston.
Now, he shares the ball with three of the most skilled players in the today's game (and two of the most skilled ever) in Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
The result? This season, he is averaging 11.6 points per game, which is both good for fourth in the Heat and his lowest average since...ever.
Oh, and there's always that part where he's coming off the bench. Ray Allen had never played more than four games as a bench player in a regular season before joining the Heat.
So, when Ray told reporters yesterday (via CLNS Radio) "the entire season has been an adjustment," you can believe him. You are allowed to take more than 40 games to adjust to something you have never done before in your whole entire life.
Ray Allen probably knew where Pierce was going
Ray Allen told CLNS Radio yesterday that he knows what former teammates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett want to do with the ball.
So what? Ray Allen never guards either of them and the two teams only have to play each other two more times this regular season.
If you agree with the above statement, you should check the NBA standings again. Especially the Eastern Conference standings.
Yes, that is Miami standing at the first stop and Boston sitting at the eighth. With half a season to go, the two rivals are set to square off in the very first round of the playoffs.
Now, many will argue that Rondo's season-ending ACL tear will cost the Celtics their playoff spot. However, the Celtics are lucky the Eastern Conference is only subpar this year, as ninth through 12th seeds are a combined 100-204. That's 49%. Yikes.
One thing is certain: with Rondo's departure, the Celtics' offense will have to be generated by Garnett and Pierce. And Allen already warned the media: he's in the Celtics' veterans' heads.
Not to mention, he has also practiced with Brendon Bass, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green. If you're counting, those are the five most important guys on Boston's rotations.
There's a big chance Erik Spoelstra just takes a week off as Ray Allen coaches the Heat in their upcoming playoff series.
The Boston Celtics organization greeted Ray Allen with a jumbotron video (via CLNS Radio) recording the good moments he had with the team. The fans' initial reaction was to boo: later, a large majority decided to give Ray a standing ovation.
Unluckily for him, that was not the end of the night. As soon as he stepped onto the floor in the first quarter, he was booed every time he had the ball.
Allen later told reporters he was quite surprised with the crowd's reaction.
"I didn't expect to get booed the whole time when I touched the ball. That was interesting."
Allen was very careful in his choice of words only because he was in front of the cameras. Behind closed doors, you can bet Ray Allen was less then satisfied at the reaction from the fans.
He was not going to be naive enough to think that he wasn't going to get booed at all. But, as he expressed himself, he certainly wasn't expecting it every time he touched the ball. And that, in his eyes, might have been too much, for a guy who helped win the organization's first title since 1986.
Ray Allen's comment was, to say the least, "interesting."
We all remember when Garnett said he did not have Ray Allen's number anymore, or when he refused to acknowledge his former teammate's presence.
Now, it seems that Ray Allen is not happy with him or Paul Pierce, either.
The future Hall of Famer had a few words to say about his departure from Boston (via CLNS Radio).
"I had to decide what was best for my family and we made a decision. One thing I learned is that throughout my time in the league is that I can never tell you or another person what exactly they are going through or what they have to deal in their situation. So, I'll tell you, it was disappointing for [my family] to have to go. But, we have to made that decision and it's unfortunate."
Ray Allen once again picked his words very carefully, but there was a feeling in the room that he had wanted to tell that to the Celtics' veterans for quite some time now.
At heart, Ray Allen is still a Celtic
Let's start this slide with a self-explaining quote, courtesy of CLNS Radio.
"I will always be a Celtic in my mind, no matter what anybody else says."
Despite the fans' reaction to his return, Ray Allen said he still loves the Celtics organization.
Why wouldn't he? This is the team that took him away from a small-market team, gave him the opportunity to win and awarded him his first ring.
This is the city the love him for five straight seasons and that was the building where he hit the 2,561th three-pointer of his career, good for the most ever hit by any player.
The day Ray Allen is selected to the Hall of Fame, you can fully expect him to be wearing the green number 20.
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