Ray Allen returned to the lineup on Wednesday after sitting out the previous six games due to an ankle injury.
Allen did not factor much in the box score, but hit a clutch three-pointer, with under a minute to play, as the Celtics looked to rally against the San Antonio Spurs. Allen ended the night with five points, seven rebounds and two assists in over 35 minutes played.
Allen received a cortisone shot in his ankle Sunday and was able to return to game action after practicing on Tuesday. Allen, who has had under five cortisone shot in his entire NBA career, was hesitant at first.
“I just know my body so well and the difference coming in today and even practicing yesterday is a night-and-day difference,’’ Allen said. “Just being able to push and get lift. Once I woke up this morning and I moved around, that’s always the first indication when I get out of bed. I didn’t have those [pain] issues the last day or two. Once I got to the gym, it was just managing it.’’
The absence of Ray Allen allowed Avery Bradley to flourish. Sports radio was a buzz debating whether or not Allen, who is a first ballot hall of famer, should lose his starting job to Bradley’s hot hand.
Head coach Doc Rivers quickly squashed any such speculation by inserting Allen back into the lineup and playing him over 30+ minutes. It should be noted that Bradley led all scorers with 19 points off the bench.
There is an old saying that you should never lose your spot to injury. Allen missed over ten percent of the season due to injury, but still remains a factor the Celtics desperately depend on if they plan on making a legitimate run deep into the playoffs.
The Avery Bradley story is an unexpected gift from the basketball gods, but the sample size is just too small at the moment to really appreciate what has been bestowed upon us.
The Celtics are in the process of embarking on one of the more difficult stretches the NBA schedule makers have every thrown at a team and we just hope they are still in playoff contention on the other side.