Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The case for Allen is simple: At age 35, he may be having the best shooting season of his career. He’s shooting a career-best from the floor (51 percent) and behind the arc, where he’s making 46 percent of his 3-pointers. (In a weird twist, his 86 percent free throw shooting is his worst since his rookie season.) Perhaps even more impressively, he has played every game and is averaging 36 minutes a night.
While there’s no rule that says that the NBA has to take a two-guard, Allen’s competition for the other guard spot essentially comes down to Atlanta’s Joe Johnson.
Leaving Allen’s insanely good True Shooting percentage aside (which combines, 2’s, 3’s and free throws), focus on the Usage percentage (USG) of the two players.
Allen uses barely over 20 percent of the Celtics’ possessions when he is on the floor with a shot attempt, free throw or a turnover. Johnson, on the other hand, uses over 27 percent of Atlanta’s possessions.
The argument for Allen comes down to a question of efficiency, the great buzzword of 2011. Allen is a far more efficient player because he uses fewer possessions to record comparable results. There are many more ways to slice this argument even thinner, but it all keeps coming back to the same thing: Ray Allen is having a better year than Joe Johnson.
Later today the league will announce the reserves for the All-Star teams. It's a decision made by coaches.
Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are heavy favorites. Ray Allen is on the bubble.
Paul Flannery does a great job making the case for Ray. Statistically he's neck and neck with Joe Johnson.
While Ray has the intangibles (well liked around the league, team guy, this might be his last AS game), it's rare for a team to get 4 players. It's happened twice in the last 27 years. While Ray is likeable, I'm not sure the team is likeable enough to achieve this feat.
Prediction – Ray gets snubbed.
On Page 2, a tough home schedule looms.
And now, one goal remains: Finish out the remaining games before the All-star break playing well.
Sounds easy, huh?
Not when you look at the teams still remaining on the Celtics' schedule between now and the break.
Up first will be the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Less than 48 hours later, the C's will host Conference rival Orlando.
In addition, the Celtics will see two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Miami Heat.
"It gets tougher, but at least we're home," Rivers said.
Against the top teams record-wise in the Eastern (Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Orlando) and the Western Conferences (San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas), the C's are an impressive 9-3.
This should be fun. Can the Celtics beat all four of those teams in the course of a week?
Not only are the Celtics home, but the schedule is kind. They'll get two days off before playing Dallas, LA and Miami. I won't dare say they'll go 4-0, but 3-1 is doable.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics had productive trip | Hoopz right at home with Shaq | Herald – Like Perk never left | ESPN Boston – Technical tracker | CSNNE – Bradley finding his game with Red Claws | ESPN Boston – Enjoy the ride |