By all accounts, Tony Allen is well liked by all his teammates. They say he is the funniest guy in the locker room and he keeps them loose. If those were the criteria for getting playing time, he would be logging heavy minutes.
However, that is not the case.
T.A. is an enigma. He oozes athleticism and if he had logged heavy minutes, I would dear say he would probably surpass Dikembe Mutombo with Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Yes, I said it. This man has the kind of eye and hand coordination that other players can only dream about.
Watch his defensive stance; he has cat-like balance that allows him to mirror the offensive player's movement. He is starting to realize that his best jump shot is a layup.
His NBA career has been marred with injuries and has stymied his growth. He also started the season on the injury list. He has had a history of making bonehead fouls at the most inopportune time.
Add to that the addition of Marquis Daniels and it seems like the luck of the Irish has not included Allen.
Through it all, T.A. has remained optimistic and has worked hard behind the scenes to improve his game.
Last night Doc Rivers rewarded that hard work and Tony responded by maximizing his shot opportunities. He finished with 13 points and was a defensive stalwart.
I am sure it meant more to him to hear Paul Pierce speak of his professionalism in his post-game presser, more than anything the national media had to say.
Tony is in the final year of his contract and has publicly stated that he wants to remain a Celtic.
The Celtics as presently compromised can ill afford to lose such an athletic player. At 6'4'' he relishes crashing the boards and he is a decent ball handler and passer, making it possible for him to play spot duty at the point.
I personally did not like the addition of Daniels because to me, he lacks the type of energy that the Celtics need.
There are rumors that other teams are quietly inquiring about his services for next year. If the Celtics let him go, I can envision a scenario where it will haunt them.
The amazing thing about Allen's performance last night was that when he picked up his fifth foul he did not let it affect his game. In fact, he finished the game without fouling out. He is ready to contribute now and is proving he belongs in the playoff rotation.
His performance may well have finally provided Doc Rivers with a reason to trust him.