At the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Ray Allen was moving around the court like Betty White. Battling bone spurs in his ankles, he wasn’t moving crisply to get open and when he did get a look there was no lift in his legs and shots clanged off the rim. He was even missing free throws. And Ray Allen doesn’t miss free throws.
But it’s not like that any more.
Allen wasn’t exactly his old self — he was 6-of-16 from the field in Game 4 — but he is a threat again, playing more than 46 minutes, moving well off the ball and scoring 16 points as part of the Celtics dramatic win.
“Just going into the game, starting the game, having my legs underneath me is for me it’s a huge deal now,” Allen said at his post-game press conference.
He had a couple key threes and has again attracted the focus on the Heat defense, spreading them out. It has been one of the keys to the Celtics tying the series up 2-2.
This doesn’t mean the problem is gone for the free agent to be. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com has this quote from Allen.
“At my lowest point, I was ready to have surgery,” Allen said. “I didn’t think that I would get any better, because I was doing all the things I needed to do, treatment-wise, and just staying off of it. It didn’t seem like it was going to get any better…
“It just progressively got better over time,” Allen said. “We’ll see how I deal with it once the season is over.”
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.