Ray Allen recovers from bad night with game-winner
The forgotten member of Boston’s new Big Three was shooting just 2 for 13 when he hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in overtime to give the Celtics a 98-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
“Ray is one of the great shooters of all time—right behind me. I told him that in the huddle,” said Paul Pierce(notes), who scored 24 before fouling out on a charging call on Boston’s last possession of regulation. “We believe in him so much, no matter how he might be going.”
Garnett returned after missing 10 games with a hyperextended right knee and scored 13 points, surviving first-half foul trouble to play more than 30 minutes. He wore a padded white brace on his knee, and it was taped and iced after the game.
“I felt good. I thought I had some decent energy,” Garnett said. “The old ’76 Pinto got banged up a little bit. But I just kept hitting the gas and kept going.”
Allen’s breakthrough gave Boston a 96-95 lead before LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) followed with a missed 3-pointer and, after a scramble at midcourt, Allen wound up with the ball and passed it ahead to Tony Allen(notes) for the breakaway dunk.
Ray Allen said he was frustrated, but never doubted his shot.
“There wasn’t anything wrong with my form or my mechanics,” he said. “It just wouldn’t go in.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he ran three plays in a row for Allen, despite his slump. When he called the third one, Rivers said, Rajon Rondo(notes) told him, “You know Ray’s going to be wide open on this?”
Rivers told him, “Yeah, that’s the idea.”
“Listen, he had one of those nights,” Rivers said. “But shooters shoot, and every miss meant the odds were on our side more.”
Andre Miller(notes) scored 28, with eight assists and eight rebounds, and Aldridge had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Martell Webster(notes) scored 19 and Juwan Howard(notes) had 12 rebounds for the Blazers.
Rondo scored 19 with nine assists for Boston, and Kendrick Perkins(notes) had 11 rebounds. Ray Allen played a team high 42:42, but he was 3 for 14 from the floor, 1 for 5 from 3-point range and he twice missed technical foul shots after the Trail Blazers were called for defensive 3 seconds—“probably for the first time in his career,” Rivers said.
But Allen didn’t stop shooting, and he finally came through in the 53rd minute after missing another 3-point attempt on the previous possession.
“You know he’s going to knock that shot down,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re looking for him. He missed that first one and that second one— that usually doesn’t happen again.”
Aldridge took a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, and the ball was batted around toward midcourt before Aldridge, trying to save it, tipped it away from Tony Allen and right to Ray Allen. Tony Allen kept streaking toward the basket and had the easy dunk.
Garnett had not played since hyperextending his right knee against Golden State on Dec. 28 game. Since then, the Celtics were 4-6, bringing a three-game losing streak into Friday night and a three-game losing streak at home that was their longest since assembling the current Big Three.
Without Garnett, the Celtics gave up 99.4 points per game—it was 91.9 before he was hurt—and during the three-game skid they were outscored 32-9 on second-chance points. On Friday, Portland outscored Boston 22-8 following an offensive rebound.
The Blazers had their own injury problems.
Already without centers Joel Przybilla(notes) and Greg Oden(notes), who had season-ending knee injuries, the team sent star guard Brandon Roy(notes) home from the road trip after he injured his right hamstring; he will miss four games. Then Jerryd Bayless(notes), who started in place of Roy on Friday night, left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.
On the last Celtics possession of regulation, Pierce dribbled down the clock before missing a runner, but Rondo got the rebound. After a timeout, Pierce drove and Miller drew a charge, giving the Blazers the ball with 1.1 seconds left.
Miller threw an alley-oop to Aldridge on the inbounds pass, but he left it
NOTES: With McMillan nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon, assistant Monty Williams was up most of the game calling out plays and interacting with the officials. McMillan hurt himself when he took part in a practice so his banged-up team would have enough bodies to play 5-on-5. … Celtics F Brian Scalabrine(notes) was out with a sore right shoulder. … The Celtics are 5-0 against the Northwest Division.