When Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley hurt his shoulder and was forced to miss game five of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi Finals against Philadelphia, most people just said no big deal because Ray Allen can just have his starting job back. However, it is not that simple because Ray Allen right now is a defensive liability for Boston.
Ray has turned himself into a pretty good defensive player over the years. The problem is Ray’s injured ankles. He just cannot cut and move as well as he needs to in order to keep up with guys like Evan Turner. The Boston Celtics are forced to over help defend on Ray’s man and this leads to some open shots for Philly. Ray also seems to shy away form the paint and the contact. This is allowing Philly to gang rebound over the Celtics bigs and get plenty of second chance points off the offensive rebounds. I cannot blame Ray because those bone spurs are providing miserable pain to begin with and taking the punishment of boxing out down low must not feel like a bed of roses on his ankles.
The Celtics clearly miss Avery Bradley. He is just such a smart and athletic defender that can shut his man completely down even on one shoulder. Should they get by Philly then in a matchup with Miami they will miss him even more. I cringe at the idea of Ray trying to keep up with Dwayne Wade. The only good news is Wade’s knee is banged up and maybe that is just enough to allow Ray to hold him at bay.
There is no bigger fan and supporter of Ray Allen on this planet than myself. His deadly shooting exploits have left me with many fond memories. I will always appreciate the fact that he took a reduced role as the third amigo to join this team and made himself into a solid defensive player during his time in Boston in order to give his team the best chance of winning. Right now he is playing through unbelievable pain to even give Boston whatever his body will allow him to give and should be admired for that fact. However, he just cannot replace Bradley’s defense and that hurts Boston. I just hope going forward that Bradley can gut it out and guys like Mickael Pietrus can keep playing solid defense. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!