The current Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo are squeaking (at best) through the playoffs, narrowly winning a series over the Bulls and getting as far down as 28 points in their home loss to the Magic on Monday.
Allen has become increasingly reliant on zipping around off-ball screens since his tenure with the Celtics and was strangely reluctant to take JJ Redick off the dribble in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
He no longer displays the will to attack the basket, but simply to hover out on the perimeter and over-pass if he doesn't have the open shot. Over-passing leads to turnovers and the C's averaged 14.1 in the first-round, up from their season average. They had 14 more in the Eastern Conference Semis'.
His deterioration started last year in the playoffs and seems to have carried over into the following year. Aside from his 51-point scoring outburst against Chicago, his play can be labeled questionable at best and his unwillingness to help shoulder the load off of Paul Pierce has become more noticeable in his last two seasons.
His 2-for-12 shooting versus the Magic shows he's lost a step (which is natural as a veteran) but he also is slowly developing into a role player for the Celtics, rather than a star.
Boston already has enough role players already planted into their starting lineup (Perkins and Davis) and they simply cannot afford to have another.
Allen missed 49 of his 65 three-point attempts during the first two months of the postseason and only went to line five times or more in 9 out of the C's 26 playoff games. The result? A pedestrian 12-10 record, a pair of body-draining Game 7 series, and a much prolonged NBA Finals.
Over the last two years he's had postseason scoring totals of: 7, 0, 9, 4, 9, 4, and 9.
Prior to him joining the Celtics, Allen's last postseason appearance came in 2004-05 with the then-Seattle SuperSonics.
His postseason scoring totals for their 11 games in the playoffs were 28, 26, 33, 45, 30, 8, 25, 20, 32, 19, and 25.
He also got to the line five-plus times on seven different occasions in those eleven games and his average of 26.1 points per game was the highest in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Now, of course, the dimensions of the 2008-09' Celtics are vastly different from the roster of the 2004-05 Sonics'. The one thing they have in common is they needed Ray Allen to step up in their postseason to help propel their team extend their season.
It pains me to say this as well as write this, but Allen must step up the intensity and devote more time to being aggressive against undermanned defenders on the offensive end for the C's to have a shot at contending for the title.
So, yes, I believe he's begun to become a shadow of his former self, but you have to admit— it's been a good ride.
Allen answered the call back in 2004-05 but has left the phone off the hook for the Celtics so far in 09'.