Was it the reaction to end all reactions? No, that was this. But Tony Allen’s reaction to beating the Celtics was more or less exactly what one would expect from Allen.
He celebrated like he just won the $304 million Megamillions jackpot. Like the price of gas just went down to less than a dollar. Like he just completed his Beanie Baby collection. Like he just beat his neighbor in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Like he just found out they were coming out with Avatar 2 in 2014. Like I finally ended this paragraph, which has gotten more than a little absurd.
His hands raised into the air, screams flew out of his mouth, and he raced straight to Kevin Garnett. Garnett went in to dap Allen (for those who aren’t “hip,” I suggest Urban Dictionary’s first or fifth definition…but definitely not the third definition, which would have been a very odd response from Garnett), but Allen was having none of that. Hug it out, he had decided. And with what looked to be a mix of emotions (I’d describe it one part surprise, one part “I just lost, I’d rather not do this right now”, and two parts love), Garnett returned the hug. Only Tony Allen, I thought, could celebrate a win with the losing team.
Next on Allen’s hug list was Paul Pierce. Then Doc Rivers. Then Delonte West, who also (lucky him) got the pleasure of Allen whispering something into his ear. By that time Allen’s coach, Lionel Hollins, was gesturing for Allen to come join his own team and Tommy Heinsohn was shouting, “This wasn’t practice, Tony! They’re not happy with you!”
“It was an emotional day,” Allen said after the game. “But I’m just happy with the win.”
Really, Tony? We couldn’t tell.
“I’m a Celtic. But unfortunately, I wear a Grizzlies jersey right now,” he continued, apparently forgetting he had signed in Memphis as a free agent, under his own free will.
In the game, Allen was a mixed bag of ups and downs, as Celtics fans might have expected. Just as he’s capable of ripping Rajon Rondo’s dribble and coasting in for a breakaway dunk, Allen’s also capable of shooting a jumper late in the game and missing by approximately two hockey rinks. He can make a coach cry one minute and jump for joy the next. That’s Tony Allen, just as all the post-game energy and hugs were.
While Allen made his first return to Boston since leaving the franchise, another former Celtic played like, in Doc Rivers’ words, “the baddest man on the planet.” Leon Powe scored 13 points in just 17 minutes, or, worded a little differently, 12 fewer points than Troy Murphy has scored in eleven games since joining the Celtics. Murphy played only four minutes yesterday, scoring zero points to go along with his zero rebounds, zero assists and two turnovers. By the end of the night, Celtics fans everywhere wondered whether signing Powe would have been more beneficial than signing Murphy.
“Yeah, we looked at [Powe],” Rivers told WEEI. “We just couldn’t take the chance, honestly, with all the injuries we’ve had.”
Ah, injuries. Those buggers. At least Jermaine O’Neal will rejoin the team on Monday, with a return probably coming shortly thereafter. I can’t promise he’ll help, but I can promise one thing: When he does return, I won’t celebrate as fiercely as Tony Allen did. Hell, I’m not sure I’ll celebrate at all.