BOSTON — Rajon Rondo may have been the talk of the town last night, but a far less likely name was drawing nearly as much praise around the TD Garden.
"Tony Allen may have been the biggest reason we won after Rondo," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "TA did a great job out there on LeBron (James)."
But it wasn't just Allen.
With the Celtics in need of a boost, and many of their top players battling foul trouble, the trio of Allen, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and — that's right — Rasheed Wallace came off the bench to provide the spark in Boston's 97-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"We needed to help the team in any way we could," said Davis, who displayed his enthusiasm before the game with an ear-piercing scream in the locker room. "Just be energy guys and make the plays at the right time. That's what we do."
It was considered a given before the series that Cleveland held a major advantage off the bench, with 6-foot-10 agitator Anderson Varejao, former Celtics marksman Delonte West and energy guy J.J. Hickson as the go-to reserves.
But the Celtics bench simply ran the Cavs off the floor last night. Boston's reserves tallied 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting with 13 rebounds and four blocks. Cleveland's reserves were held to 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds and one block.
"Tony Allen impacted this game in a big way," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown. "I don't think he hit a jump shot the whole game. But he beat us backdoor for layups, he beat us in transition and he beat us for hustle points."
Many wondered if Allen would even be on the Celtics roster heading into the season, but the fifth-year swingman made it worth keeping him again last night.