Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sweet Bald Three-Point Shooting Jesus...

Last night's Celtics-Bulls tilt was a relatively ho-hum affair by 2007-2008 Celts game standards. Celts led throughout, locked down the opposition's best scorer (in this case, Ben Gordon, who looked more lost than CC Sabathia at Whole Foods), and won in relatively simple fashion. Wash, rinse, repeat.

But last night's 106-92 affair may have carried greater importance in the grand scheme of Banner Number 17 than you might think, due to the performance of one man: Ray Allen.

Lost in the general "holy crap, look how good the C's are!" nature of this season has been the relatively steep decline of Allen, the Krist Novoselik of the C's Darker-Complexioned Three. (now there's a nickname I'm sure won't catch on) Like Novoselik, Allen helps build a fantastic backbone to the group, but is certainly not the caliber of star to Kevin Garnett's Kurt Cobain or Paul Pierce's Dave Grohl.

But last night, we saw a glimpse of the Ray Allen that averaged 26 points a game last year, that terrorized the Eastern Conference for so many years in Milwaukee, and who owned the Big East while at UConn. Allen made five of his seven three-point attempts, dished out six assists, and generally looked more spry than he had in over a month. Much was made of Allen's post-All-Star break scoring binge, but he had since crashed to earth, averaging a horrible (by his standards) 14.6 points per game in March. Combine that with a painful heel injury suffered on a wet Garden floor against Utah (which looked much, much worse live), and I was worried that we wouldn't see the old Ray Allen for a long time. After last night, I'm a lot less concerned.

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