Tony Allen Wants to Stay With Celtics
Then again, the game is indoors at TD Garden. So perhaps Allen will look to rent a panel on the scoreboard or maybe pucker up to the parquet floor for the kiss cam.
"I want to be here," said the reserve guard who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. "This is definitely where I want to be. Hands down ... My first negotiations are definitely going to be with the Celtics."
Talk about not playing hard to get, and not exactly using hardball tactics when it comes to getting a raise on the $2.5 million he's making this season. Then again, Allen certainly isn't hurting his cause lately of getting a return engagement with the Celtics.
Allen is averaging a modest 4.0 points in 16.8 minutes during the Finals against the Lakers, with Sunday's Game 5 being Boston's home finale before the series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 6 and Game 7, if necessary. But Allen's primary focus has been defense, and he was solid in Game 4 against Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
When Allen was matched up against Bryant for the first 9:09 of the fourth quarter Thursday, the star shot 0-of-3 and scored just two points as the Celtics outscored the Lakers 25-15. On Saturday, a reporter even asked Allen, whose Celtics won Game 5 96-89 to tie the series 2-2, if he's the "Kobe stopper."
"I never heard about anything about me being no Kobe stopper," Allen said. "It's all five guys together."
Boston coach Doc Rivers agrees. But that doesn't mean Rivers doesn't appreciate that he's got an offensive Allen in Ray and a defensive one in Tony.
"(Tony Allen) has to be in some ways our Artest," said Rivers, referring to Lakers defensive stalwart Ron Artest going against a foe's top perimeter scorer. "That doesn't mean you're gong to stop anybody. There's nobody, by the way, that's stopping Kobe Bryant. If it is, I haven't met him or it because I don't think it would be a person. But, you know, Tony's job is to come in, and his main focus is defense, just to be a defensive player."
It's a role that has expanded for Allen since the 2008 Finals series against the Lakers, when he played in only three of the six games, logging just 19 minutes. Boston's perimeter defensive specialist then was reserve James Posey, who played only that season with the Celtics before leaving for New Orleans as a free agent.
"I'm just basically still using that same work ethic James Posey showed when he was here, that same preparation and focus that James Posey showed when he was there," Allen said. "I'm just trying to carry that out."
What doesn't come with that is flashy statistics. Allen, whose six straight seasons with the Celtics trails only forward Paul Pierce's 12 when it comes to longevity on the team, averaged just 6.1 points during the regular season.
Allen hopes his love affair with Boston can last for some more seasons. If Allen was brought back by the Celtics after providing little in the 2008 Finals, he figures to be a reasonably high offseason priority after his solid showing two years later.
"They haven't said anything to me yet," Allen said of a possible re-signing. "But I'm sure they know that I want to be here."
Just in case, it might not hurt Allen's cause to advertise it all he can.