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Sports

December 6, 2008

Ageless Allen

33-year-old Celtics guard still going strong

BOSTON — Ray Allen doesn't get down on all fours before games like Kevin Garnett. He doesn't scream at the crowd like Paul Pierce. He doesn't do histrionics. That's just not his thing.

Instead he settles for simple fist pumps. They're quick, smooth and effective; kind of like Allen.

He scored 19 points (7 of 16 shooting) to lead the Celtics over the Portland Trail Blazers, 93-78, last night at TD Banknorth Garden.

"Ray, he just plays," Blazers guard Brandon Roy said. "He doesn't do a lot of talking. He just plays his game, takes his shots. He's a professional. It's no secret."

The 6-foot-5 guard is in the midst of perhaps his best stretch of basketball in a Boston uniform. He's averaging 22.1 points over his last seven games, all victories. The Celtics have won 11 straight overall.

Whether he was draining a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the score at 19 late in the first quarter (that was the only time he pulled out the fist pump) or rushing up the floor to score the first points of the second half on an uncontested layup, the 13-year veteran looked like the Allen of old.

"He did a good job of leaking out, getting behind the defense," said Roy, who Allen helped hold to 12 points, 9.1 below his average. "He just played a good game. Ray's a good player. I've always watched Ray Allen."

It's as if the 33-year-old Allen wound back the odometer on his surgically repaired ankles. He is averaging 35.5 minutes a night, which may affect him down the stretch, but he seems fresh on the court.

At 19-2, the Celtics need one more win to match last year's sensational start. When asked if this is the best Boston has played since he's been here, Allen paused for a moment, and delivered a typically measured response. He's not about to make emotional proclamations.

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