The first thing I see is that strap around his knee. He's been wearing it for the past few games. And I don't like it one bit.
That strap serves one purpose: To alleviate patellar tendinitis. It's also known as jumper's knee. It's an overuse injury.
Now… this in itself is not really a big deal. Just about every player has dealt with jumper's knee. That strap, some ice, maybe some Advil, and a little rest when he can get it should keep it in check.
There's that word again. Rest.
I know I've been harping on Ray's minutes since the beginning of the season. But that knee strap to me looks like the first domino starting to wobble. I know what'll happen if we don't catch it now.
Ray's averaging 35.2 minutes a game right now. It's one minute less than last year's average. Just one. His field goal percentage is down from 48% last year to 46.7% so far this year.. His 3 point shooting percentage is currently, at 30.4%, the lowest it's ever been.
Yes, it is early in the season and the numbers now tend to be a bit skewed because of the smaller sample size. But they still show Ray is struggling. And he has to work harder than ever to get the shots he's getting. He's running off of 3 screens to get open. He's driving more and taking more contact. It all adds up.
The Celtics need Ray Allen to be at least average. If he was average last night, the Celtics would have won in regulation and everyone would have been spared extra minutes. And who knows what would have happened if he had been average against Orlando.
Yeah, it's just a knee strap. But when you're 34 with 35,500 minutes already on the odometer and you're being asked to go all out in Tom Thibodeau's defensive system… that knee strap means a little more.
It's like a little piece of duct tape to hold a little something in place. Right now, it's nothing. But before you know it, you're using a whole roll of that stuff just to get the thing moving. The Celtics have Eddie House and Marquis Daniels on the bench for a reason. Use them to give these guys a few extra minutes of rest before that option is taken away from you.