In this edition of the Four-Point Play, I’ll discuss how the rough U.S. economy is affecting the Celtics, Tony Allen’s offseason saga, Ray Allen’s renewed focus, and I’ll take a look at how the Celtics fared against the 76ers on Wednesday night.
1. The 76ers beat the Boston Celtics 98-92 in the opening game of the preseason. Ummmm who cares?
- It’s just nice to see this team out on the floor again. I wish I could’ve gone to the game (it was in UMass) but it’s still nice to even see the highlights on TV. Speaking of highlights…Bill Walker’s dunk over Theo Ratliff was awesome. I guess his knees are OK.
- Doc Rivers did not attend the game, and instead flew to Orlando to attend to a personal matter. He successfully appealed the high school basketball ineligibility of Adam Jones, whom Doc and his wife are legal guardians of. Go Doc!
- In case you were counting, Leon Powe led all Celtics scorers with 12 points in 23 minutes.
2. The Celtics are having no trouble in this rough U.S. economy, even as David Stern warned that ticket sales could drop while fans remained home rather than going to the games.
- Of course, it’s easy to have a good business model (as reported by the Globe’s Marc J. Spears) when your team wins the NBA Championship the previous season. Celtics president Rich Gotham said sales are especially good despite the economic woes that grip the nation.
“I don’t think you can ignore it, but I’m very happy we’re coming off the championship season because it will help us hold off economy hits. We don’t foresee anything right now. We have sold all our season tickets. Got sponsorship done. We don’t have single-game tickets available and they were gone right away when out.”
- Tell me about it. I’m lucky I had the chance to attend opening night with SoB’s Jeff, as there are literally zero general tickets available for the 41 home games this season. I’ll have to hope I know someone who just has extra tickets. Any of you readers want to bring me?
3. Tony Allen was apparently wrapped in an offseason saga, as he was in limbo about his contract status for the 2008-09 season.
“It was so stressful at the time,” Allen said. “I just stayed in my shell. I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t go to restaurants. I barely even wanted to go in the grocery shore. [Fans would say], ‘Are you coming back? Are you leaving?’ I just stayed in my shell.”
- Tony was offered a contract by the now-Oklahoma City Thunder, but remained in limbo because he wanted to sign with the Celtics, who were busy trying to re-sign James Posey. Meanwhile, the Thunder were looking at Utah’s C.J. Miles instead, and Tony was stuck. As you know, Posey didn’t sign with the Celtics and Tony was signed back within days.
4. Last season, Ray Allen was often seen as the third wheel due to the offensive attention garnered by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This season, he should see more looks, according to the Globe’s Frank Del’Appa.
- As you know, Allen was the team’s third-leading scorer, and that trend may continue this season, but he faltered in the playoffs mostly because his team didn’t know where to find him open. Doc Rivers and Ray worked on different offensive sets that gave Ray more clean looks.
“I thought he had the best camp,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He played great and we put more in to accent him. It was tougher last year for him because we had to get Kevin [Garnett] involved in the offense and Paul [Pierce] was already involved. We only had a certain amount of time and he was almost the third thought…Now he knows where to get his shots in the offense and guys know how to find him.”
- This is great news. If Ray Allen gets more of the scoring load, that can provide some relief to Pierce and Garnett. While the Celtics may not be better in 2008-09 (it’s hard to top 66 wins), they will be more organized, which is certainly helped by having a full season and Championship under their collective belt.
Tags: Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Four-Point Play, Philadelphia 76ers, Ray Allen, Rich Gotham, Tony Allen