Tony Allen Showing Promise
January 9, 2005
CHICAGO - It was quite a homecoming for Chicago native Tony Allen, who finally got a chance to play before friends and family at the United Center. The rookie guard missed a road exhibition game against the Bulls after suffering a hyperextended left knee. But lately, Allen has made up for lost time, earning minutes with his tough-minded, energetic play.
Allen scored a career-high 18 points against the Pistons last Sunday. He averaged 8.4 points per game shooting 60 percent from the floor in the six games prior to Boston's rematch with Detroit Friday, when Allen had a rare off night. Coach Doc Rivers has liked what Allen brings to the court and vowed to find more time for the former Oklahoma State star.
Last night, Allen scored 14 points in 17 minutes as the Celtics lost to the Bulls, 102-91.
"Tony is just going to give you energy," said Rivers. "Tony might make mistakes, but he plays so hard, he covers up for half of them. That's what keeps him on the floor. Even though he's in our rotation, he has to play more minutes. His plus-minus is starting to grow. His effort and energy is so good that it's good to have him on the floor."
Allen has worked hard to keep his focus throughout games. Mental lapses are fewer in Allen's play today than when the season started. He has learned he cannot take plays off in the NBA. Now, he just wants to make the most of the minutes he has.
"I just don't want to get complacent," said Allen. "I try to ignore [praise from Rivers], so I can just keep working harder and harder. I'm not really even worried about my minutes at this point. I just know in my heart that I can help the team.
"Whenever I'm called upon to do something, I just want to come through and do that. I'm not one of those guys who's worried about his touches and worried about his minutes. I just want to do what I can to help."
Speaking of increased playing time, Rivers would also like to find more minutes for Jiri Welsch. Though a streaky scorer, Welsch has shown, given the time, he can put up numbers. He scored a career-high 24 points in 33 minutes against Golden State Dec. 6. He went 5 for 6 from the field against Detroit Friday at the FleetCenter and finished with 12 points in 19 minutes. Last night, he went 2 for 7 and had only 5 points in 22 minutes.
"Even though we have a set rotation, a lot of times Doc is just going with his instinct," said Welsch. "If he sees something in a game, he acts based on what he sees.
"But personally, I'm happy with where I am. I feel comfortable in the starting lineup. The minutes that I'm playing right now could be more and could be less."
Last night's Bulls-Celtics game featured two strong candidates for Sixth Man of the Year honors in Ricky Davis and Ben Gordon. Davis moved to the Boston bench Nov. 21 against Seattle. In 24 games after the switch, he was averaging 14.1 points. He had 10 last night. Gordon was averaging 13.4 points coming off the Bulls' bench entering the game. He had 7 last night.