A brief smattering of C’s news to start your day:
• Tony Allen would like to re-sign in Boston after this season, when he becomes a free agent, according to WEEI.com:
“I am a Celtic,” he told WEEI.com. “I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].”
So: What is Tony Allen worth? When he’s healthy, it’s clear that he has evolved into a potential defensive stopper you can throw at elite shooting guards and the occasional small forward. He has given Kobe Bryant more problems than any individual Celtic defender, though of course limiting Kobe involves all five players on the court.
But he remains an offensive liability. He still can’t shoot jumpers, he’s still unsure of himself as a ball-handler (his turnover rate this season is about what it has been through his career) and the team’s offense this season scored about five fewer points per 100 possessions with TA on the floor versus with him on the bench, according to Basketball-Value numbers for the regular season and playoffs.
But the team’s defense gets better with TA on the floor, and some numbers from this series show how valuable TA can be in this system.
• Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com has some numbers on TA:
[Tony] Allen guarded Bryant for only 15 possessions Sunday, but the Lakers’ star was only 1-of-5 shooting (20 percent) for two points during that span. Against all other defenders, Bryant finished with 36 points on 54.5 percent shooting over 60 possessions.
For the series, Bryant is 6-of-24 (25 percent) when defended by Allen.
Doc on TA:
“Tony, I got on him — I don’t know what game it was — but I just, basically, we were talking, and he has to be in some ways our Artest,” said Rivers. “That doesn’t mean you’re going to stop anybody. There’s nobody, by the way, that’s stopping Kobe Bryant. If it is, I haven’t met him or it because I don’t think it would be a person.
“But Tony’s job is to come in, and his main focus is defense.”
• Forsberg has some other numbers that show what a shooting anomaly Game 5 was:
Boston’s offense finished 15-of-16 shooting (93.8 percent) within 5 feet when Bynum was on the court and 17-of-23 overall (73.9 percent). Over the first four games of the series, Boston was shooting just 50.6 percent around the basket.
And Pierce’s isolation game has also taken off in the series, especially in Game 5. Some numbers (via Forsberg, again):
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Pierce averaged only 0.86 points per play while shooting 36.9 percent off isolation plays this postseason.
Pierce’s ISO production has spiked in the Finals, highlighted as he scored eight points off seven isolation plays (1.14 points per play) in Game 5.
Pierce is averaging 1.04 points per play, while shooting 45 percent this series.
Can that last?
The Celtics will not shoot 94 percent on at-the-rim shots with Bynum on the floor again. You can book that. Their shooting percentage on two-pointers was outrageous in Game 5 and likely can’t be duplicated. They will need to compensate by doing a couple of other things: 1) Limiting turnovers; 2) Hitting a few threes.
• Ray Allen with the goose bump quote of the day in the Herald:
“When we started the season they picked us to make the Finals, and they forgot us along the way,” Allen said. “But here we are, capable. The tougher it is, the better we become. The beautiful thing about this whole situation is that we never had homecourt advantage except for the first round.”
“You have that tendency to look ahead,” Allen said. “I’m sure a lot of people are thinking about what’s on our mind, but you have to mentally block it out. All day tomorrow you have to think about what you need to do, and how you need to rest – the small things you need to do to start the game off.”
“The moment you look up, you’ll be in that moment. But you have to work for it. To achieve that moment that we want, it’s going to take everybody to do the things they do.
“We can’t leave any stone unturned and we can’t take shortcuts,” Allen said. “When our opportunity comes, we’ll be standing right there, and we’ll have our moment.”
• At NBC’s outstanding NBA blog Pro Basketball Talk, John Krolik examines whether LA’s offensive problems—and an over-reliance on Kobe of late—stem from Boston’s defense or from a failure of execution on LA’s part.