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Tony Allen has come a long way from his horrific injury during the 2006-07 season. Last year, he was the eighth or ninth man off the bench and played relatively well, but played as if he was favoring his injured knee. Who wouldn’t? He had major knee surgery.
Less than two years removed from the major knee injury, Tony Allen is starting to look like a viable sixth man to replace James Posey. He showed how effective he can be off the bench against the Pistons in a 88-76 win. Tony led the Celtics with 23 points on 11-16 shooting with five rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot.
Tony stepped up for the Big Three, who offensively were ineffective. Paul Pierce scored only seven points on 3-10 shooting, and Kevin Garnett scored just eight points, but contributed 12 rebounds and a steal. Ray Allen had himself a good overall game, however, as he scored 17 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
Besides Tony Allen, the real star in the game was the Celtics defense. Overall, the Pistons shot just 10-40 (25%) in the first half and 26-75 (34.7%) for the game. Richard Hamilton was totally ineffective, scoring just three points on 0-8 shooting. New addition Allen Iverson didn’t fare much better with 10 points (4-11 from the field) and just four assists. So far, the Iverson experiment does not look like it’s going to go too well.
Kendrick Perkins continued his strong string of play, especially defensively. He did not score one point, but hauled in 10 rebounds and blocked two shots. His defense has improved vastly this season, and you can look specifically at his minutes played and personal fouls to understand why. Perk played 28 minutes with four fouls, and he has found a way to play aggressive defense without drawing as many fouls. Kudos to big man coach Clifford Ray for working with Perk.
The Celtics next play Monday night against the Raptors.