EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

May 29, 2008

Ray-demption: Slumping guard saves the day

Bill Burt

BOSTON — Everything changes now. The game at Detroit tomorrow night. A potential series next week with the Los Angeles Lakers. Everything.

Ray Allen did what he's done for most of his life, effortlessly sinking long jump shots, and the Boston Celtics looked like the best basketball team in the land. Again.

Where has he been the last month or so, hitting nine 3-pointers over his last 13 games? Nobody knows, not even Allen.

The Detroit Pistons played a great game, making a vintage fourth quarter comeback from 13 down (91-78) to get within one point (100-99), but the difference was Allen. He led Boston to a closer-than-necessary 106-102 victory to give the C's a 3-2 series lead.

We can talk all day about Allen's unselfishness, which has been exemplary. But he was brought here, for $16 million a season, to shoot, because when he shoots, the world seems to be better place.

Allen scored 29 points last night, the most he has scored since Feb. 2 against Golden State. But it was from where he scored ... far, far away.

Allen's first 3-pointer put the Celtics ahead 8-5, but it felt like a game-winner, as the Celtics faithful understand what's been brewing. His second was even bigger, giving the Celtics their first lead of the second quarter, 44-42.

"Everyone kept saying he needs one," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, referring to Allen's 3-pointers. "My belief was he needed two or three in a row instead of one ... to get it going."

These were not the "open looks" we've been hearing about either. These there Allen really looking for his shot, running from one side of the court to the other until he got the ball.

Allen appeared to have turned this game into a blowout with back to back 3's in 26 seconds, putting the Celtics ahead 68-54.

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