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This is my holiday gift to you. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanuka, or nothing, you are getting a stress-relieving gift about how to handle the next 56 games with Tony Allen at the quasi-helm. I’ve heard a lot of good anecdotes from various nooks and crannies on the internet in the last few days about Tony Allen’s recent performances.
When Tony Allen made his triumphant return on December 8th against Milwaukee, many of us held out breath...watched TA make a great pass or drive through the lane... then watched TA exercise his patented dribble-off-the-knee move (if you’ve done this, keep it on the DL, otherwise you’ll owe TA crazy royalties)...then make a good pass...then carry the ball...on and on again.
The same routine. We are impressed, then flustered, then hopeful, then woefully disappointed.
The next three games against Washington, Chicago, and Memphis gave us the same riveting roller coaster feelings: ups and downs ups and downs ups and downs and downs and downs. It had only been three games and the “TA One Man Act” had already grew tiresome.
Then Philadelphia happened. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket with friend @KWAPT (yes, the ingenious creator of voteforperk.blogspot.com) and we were about seven rows back from the hoop on the Celts’ bench end. Basically, we were in primo position during the first half to see TA work on the offensive end. And yes, he worked.
Then the second half came along, and TA continued to work. TA was doing so much work, in fact, that @KWAPT and I started filming on our phones to get some raw footage to pitch to some Boston-based producers: “TA Doin’ Work.”
But seriously. TA was playing defense. TA was moving without the ball. TA was refraining from proving his galls via long range jumpers. TA was making the extra pass. TA didn’t turn over the ball (at all: he finished with 0 TOs). TA ran the floor.
TA was playing defense. TA was playing defense. TA was playing defense. I kept finding myself looking at KWAPT and saying, “I mean, really? Am I jinxing this?”
On my way home, despite the fact that the Celtics lost the game (and their streak), the TA performance really was a bright spot in the game. I mean, Tony Allen actually played well. Then I realized, don’t fall into this trap again. Don’t do it.
Then I came to another realization: TA was usually wishy-washy during the game. Again, in any given five consecutive possession, TA could have exploded down the middle to throw down a vicious dunk, then foul a guy shooting a long range tre, dribble of his knee (royalties!), not switch off his man when needing to switch, and then breaking his thumb while being 10 feet away from where the play is developing.
But this Philly game was different: TA actually had a near flawless game. Again: no turnovers, no remarkably visible defensive lagging, and doing what he was supposed on to on the offensive end.
I allowed myself to be pulled out of the depths of TA hellish disappointment with a ray of hope. Could this be the year? Could Tony Allen being Tony Allen today? Then Minnesota came rolling in.
And TA had another monster game: 24 minutes, 5/8 FG, 5/7 from the stripe, 6 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers (is this the first time in TA’s career where he played 2 games with substantial minutes and did not turnover the ball in either game...?).
Everyone’s been asking who has been adorning the #42 jersey in the last two games and curious when the real TA will stand up? But everyone’s been thinking the same thing: when will TA disappoint us again?
Jokes aside, I give to you my gift for the holidays: The “Tony Allen Non-Disappointment Outlook Theory (TANDOT)”. It’s simple to learn, yet complex to master. The 4 principles of TANDOT state the following:
Take it one game at a time . For you crazy micro-managers, take it one offensive and defensive possession at a time if you want. There will be turnovers. There will be moments where TA falls asleep on defense or makes a silly foul. But then there will be monster dunks. There will be crisp passes leading to an electrifying finish. There will flashes of brilliant athleticism. But, do take it one game at a time.
Don’t pin an entire season’s worth of hope on this one role player . If you do, you’ll be disappointed regardless of how well he plays. There is a reason TA is not a starter: he’s got a limited skill set that cannot translate to starter minutes for this Celtics team.
But what can he do? Help sustain a lead and not make things worse. TA looks like he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and I’d like that chip to remain there as long as possible.
Don’t start thinking TA can fill a role that he cannot . TA is not a point guard, TA is not a versatile wing man that can play bigger forwards upwards of 6-8/6-9. TA might be able to bring up the ball a few times when on the floor, but Quisy (or someone else other than Eddie) has to be the ball handler.
What TA is: an explosively quick and fast off-guard that can play good stuck-on perimeter defense, a pure slasher to the hoop, a crafty guy that can create on the move and off the dribble, and he can run the floor with ease. TA doesn’t all of the sudden magically have a high basketball IQ. He just doesn’t.
TA won’t be able to make the difficult rotations. He just won’t. He can’t be the full-time ball handler. He just can’t. Don’t jam the TA circular peg into the Celtics’ much needed strong wing / point guard squared hole.
Take anything he gives you . Just take it for face value. Don’t get over-excited, and just be relieved when our starting five is back on the floor.
If you/we adhere to these principles, it will make watching TA from here on out much more satisfying and a lot less stressful. As we watch and tweet during games, be sure to use TANDOT when you’re on the verge of frustration! So Tony Allen dribbles off his knees (royalties!)? TANDOT ! Tony Allen takes 6 steps without dribbling? TANDOT ! Tony scores on our own basket as he gets turned around? TANDOT !
Learn it. Tweet it. Live it.
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