Allen should return, but might not start tonight vs. Spurs

Veteran Boston guard Ray Allen practiced Tuesday with his team and appears ready to return with the Celtics for their game tonight against the Spurs.

Allen has missed the last six games with a sprained right ankle he sustained during the Celtics’ eight-game road trip last month. He continued to play until a March 23 loss at Philadelphia.

Avery Bradley has played well in his place as the Celtics have charged to a five-game winning streak propelling them to a 1½-game lead in the Atlantic Division over the Sixers heading into tonight’s game.

Bradley has bolstered the team’s defense while in the starting lineup. But the real reason has been that Rajon Rondo has picked up his offensive game, notching a triple-double in the Celtics’ last game — a victory over Miami Sunday afternoon.

Boston coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Allen made it through Tuesday’s practice, but added “that still doesn’t mean he’ll play tomorrow. Because the practice could affect his ankle and he can’t practice tomorrow. Right now, he’s playing.”

It’s hard to believe that Allen won’t be in the starting lineup if he’s available. Bradley has played well in his absence, but Allen is a future Hall of Fame player.

“Whatever we need to do as a team, the effort that I’ve seen over the last week-and-a-half, two weeks, has been great,” Allen told . “That’s all we need to make sure we keep up. Whatever combinations we work out there, we’re all good enough and professional enough to understand it. But when we’re out there playing . . . we’re at a point in the season where everybody knows who each other are.”

Allen has never come off the bench for the Celtics since joining the team in the 2007-08 season. He’s played as a reserve only four times in his career — most recently on Dec. 5, 2002, with Milwaukee.

It’s hard to believe that streak would end Wednesday night against the Spurs, who have lost seven of their last nine against the Celtics.

But the Spurs have been successful in Boston over the years, notching an 11-2 record there during the Tim Duncan era.

Leave a Reply