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Sports

May 9, 2008

Allen gives Celts a shot in the arm

Bill Burt

BOSTON — Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen admits he has problems sleeping after bad losses and before big games.

So last week he had a few restless nights.

We'll assume last night he slept like a baby.

Allen appeared to be pressing again last night ... but not for too long. After a miserable first half (0 for 3 from the floor, 0 for 1 from the line), he at long last found his rhythm, scoring all 16 of his points in the second half to help lead the Celtics to an 89-73 win over Cleveland in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"That free throw really ticked me off," said Allen, a lifetime 89 percent free throw shooter. "It looked like it was in and then it kicked out in front of the rim. That was a freebie."

On the heels of Allen being held scoreless in Game 1, the Celtics made a concerted effort to get his shot going. The first four offensive plays of the third quarter last night started with the ball in his hands.

"I told the coaches at halftime, 'We're going to him over and over again. We've got to get him going,' " said coach Doc Rivers. "Shooters just need something to go in."

Allen's first hoop wasn't a thing of beauty. He missed a 15-footer to open the third quarter, but got the rebound and laid it in. It was akin to David Ortiz hitting a bloop single to left, breaking an 0-for-20 streak.

The third quarter was Allen's. He played all 12 minutes, making three of five shots (he only shot one 3-pointer and missed) and five free throws. He finished with 11 points, all in the first eight minutes. After that, any chance of a Cavaliers comeback was put to rest.

"I can score more than that," assured Allen. "Heck, I can shoot five shots in a minute. I just took the shots that were open."

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