Ray Allen’s presence helps so much for the Boston Celtics. He’s their biggest three-point threat. He’s the bench’s only real scorer and also its best play-maker. He can change a game’s momentum in a hurry, like when he tied Game 5 at 83-all with a triple from the corner. I understand everything Allen brings to the table.
But with Allen’s return, Doc Rivers now has serious choices to make at the end of games. Does he go with Avery Bradley, which allows the Celtics to play the lineup which was their best this season and led to Boston’s awesome second-half surge? Or does he go with Allen, who’s helped the Celtics win dozens of games in the past with clutch play and could out-shoot 95 percent of humans while wearing a blindfold? Obviously, the situation will dictate Rivers’ decision at least to an extent. If the Celtics are down three with 5.7 seconds left, Allen will be in the lineup. If they’re up one and need a stop, it’ll probably be Bradley.
But what about situations like Tuesday night, with one quarter left in a close game? Rivers inserted Allen for Bradley with 5:28 left in the third quarter and rode Allen almost the remainder of the contest, until Bradley was subbed in for defensive purposes with 10 seconds left in the game. Part of that was because Atlanta’s new starting lineup, with Joe Johnson and his size at shooting guard, gives Bradley some trouble. But does Bradley deserve that time anyway? Or has Allen earned crunch-time minutes due to his past achievements and stellar outside touch?
It’s a tough call. What do you guys think?