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Ray Allen expected to return, start for Celtics Wednesday

Apr 3, 2012, 10:40 PM EST

Avery Bradley, Nolan Smith AP

This is from the “you can overthink things” file.

Ray Allen has missed six games with a sprained ankle and recently got the long-needle cortisone shot to help things along. In his place Avery Bradley has played very well — scoring in double-digits in four of the six, dropping 23 on the Wizards and making a highlight-reel block on Dwyane Wade. Boston has had its best run of play of the season with him starting.

Allen practiced Tuesday and is ready to go Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com. And coach Doc Rivers said he would start — which some fans don’t want because they think Bradley should stay the starter. Over Ray Allen.

A healthy Allen certainly makes the Celtics a deeper team, which is important this time of year. But his return comes at a time when the C’s are playing their best basketball of the year. And the man that replaced him, Avery Bradley, has been an instrumental figure in the Celtics’ strong play of late.

Now that Allen is on the verge of returning, Bradley goes back to being a guy that the C’s look to for bench support. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on whether the transition will be a relatively smooth one for both players.

Bradley has played well, in part the Celtics success however has been about Rajon Rondo stepping up his game. About the team stepping up their game. That doesn’t have to change with Allen back, but it can if the team exhales and relaxes. We’ll see.

But right now you can’t start Bradley and bench a future Hall of Famer in Ray Allen. You just can’t.

  1. fm31970 - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    That’s a nice luxury for Boston to have at this point, and he’s getting quality minutes to get ready for next season when Allen is playing elsewhere.

  2. dannymac17 - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    That’s not Ray Allen.

  3. dirtybird2020 - Apr 4, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    They dont need him to beat the heat haha jk but they bent the heat over and pounded away the other without him

  4. mornelithe - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    I agree that a large portion of the Celtics success is to be attributed to Rondo, however, I disagree with the assertion that you can’t sit a future hall of famer, if his replacement is performing at such a high level. After all, it’s about winning, isn’t it? Love Ray, don’t get me wrong…I don’t think any sane individual couldn’t. But, if Bradley starting is working for the Celtics, why change a winning fomula?

  5. drunkenjunk - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I understand what you’re saying Kurt, but the Celtics have been playing much better defensively with Bradley on the court. I’m sure Doc knows whats best for the team but having Ray coming off the bench and finishing the games could work out pretty well.

  6. jcmeyer10 - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    This might be an ego thing which is a bummer. Doc needs to shed his veteran leaning ways in order to give this team the best chance to win.

  7. lphboston - Apr 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    There is no easy way to put this for Ray Allen fans, but the Celtics are a better team with Bradley. He is a ferocious on-the-ball defender who had Dwyane Wade talking to himself last Sunday, he moves well without the ball and is becoming a better and more confident shooter every game. The Celtics badly need his youth and athleticism against good teams, and Bradley’s constant movement makes him very difficult to guard. No two-guard in the league wants to deal with him right now. That’s not taking anything away from Allen, who next to Reggie Miller may be the best shooter in the history of the league. The Celtics’ second unit has had offensive problems all years, and bringing Allen off the bench could resolve that issue. Whether Allen is going to the Hall of Fame, as the author states, is irrelevant.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      The fact that he makes his cuts TO the basket instead of looking for the three point line makes him instantly more dangerous and has him taking more high percentage shots. This is a plus when we can rebound a lick and need to take advantage of every opportunity we touch the ball.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      The fact that he makes his cuts TO the basket instead of looking for the three point line makes him instantly more dangerous and has him taking more high percentage shots. This is a plus when we can rebound a lick and need to take advantage of every opportunity we touch the ball.

  8. scalfor3 - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    i love ray but bradley is so much more effective when on the floor with rondo. we’ve all heard about his defense by now but he’s also very good moving without the ball. most of his points in this recent run have come from rondo finding him on backdoor cuts and similar plays. obviously ray is better with rondo finding him too (pretty much anyone is) but he could be an awesome sixth man and fourth quarter finisher. at the very least, bradley’s emergence gives doc a chance to breath easier when he gives ray or pierce a breather

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