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Boston Celtics

Ray Allen Comes Home to Play

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Ray Allen Remains Unbeaten at Home in a Familiar Arena as the Celtics Drop the Raptors in Hartford, CT

He is now 27-0 at the Civic Center.

Ray Allen scored 8 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists as he personally remained unbeaten in Hartford’s Arena, formerly known as the Civic Center. But the only points that mattered were the ones he made before and afterwards with the Connecticut  media contingent there just to see and hear Ray just one more time.

The Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 106-90. Paul Pierce led with 17 all-purpose points, while Kevin Garnett added 16 in a strong performance, as he continues his comeback from knee surgery. The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh with 21. He scored 20 in the first half.

But to Connecticut–ites (if that is what we are), it was all about Walter ‘Sugar’ Ray Allen, the man with the sweetest jump shot in the game today, maybe of all time.

The Connecticut media hoard gathered ‘round the UConn slick shooter who went on to become an NBA shooting legend and is number two all time on the three point shooting list. He needs just 201 more to reach the 2500 milestone and 262 to become the all time leader. Reggie Miller is number one right now. Ray is just 34, and in great shape. There is no reason, save injury, that he won’t end up number one all time. It all started at UConn.

We came here (Civic Center) strictly to play basketball. This locker room is so funny walking into it because half the time…because Coach Calhoun was always somewhat (angry) at us at half time. (Laughter) So… I walk in here and I had a little chuckle about certain incidences that happened here in the locker room because I remember those like yesterday. And the players I played with sitting in here obviously the building has a lot of memories. You remember certain games, certain plays.

Jim Calhoun was there. Ray’s wife’s family is from Connecticut and a large family contingent led by his father-in-law was in attendance. Even a UConn women’s great and Olympic Gold Medalist was there.

Ray…

I haven’t seen Kara Wolters in a long time. She’s going to be at the game. We kind of got back in contact and she’s coming.

Of course, Ray was asked about some of those memories, like…how about a story about shy, retiring, ever passive Jim Calhoun?

I knew that question was coming up. (chuckles)

He probably doesn’t remember it but… this locker room wasn’t as wide as it is now. We had like… this board on the wall. It was wooden. I don’t know who we were playing. It was my freshman year. He was so mad that …and I’m young and still not understanding…why guys have towels on their heads when on the bench.

So we come in at half time and he just goes off. And he went to kick the chalkboard, and his foot got stuck in the chalkboard. (laughter) And he couldn’t get it out. Someone came over there to try to help him to get it out, and he couldn’t get it out. (more laughter)

I’m just sitting here, and (wondering) am I supposed to be laughing or maybe just hold a tight face?

And that was one of the stories he could tell publicly, I would guess.

Ray Allen played his college ball at UConn, from 1993-96, three years, as he went pro as a junior.  That means that he played a number of his home games at the Hartford Civic Center, now called the XL Center. It could seat approximately 18,000, compared to Gampel Pavilion which seats around 10,000.

According to the Yahoo report, Ray was 26-0 at the Civic Center, as it was known. Paul Pierce lost there with Kansas. Glen Davis lost there with LSU. Glen heard Ray say that as he was walking by.

Glen: Y’all talking about me?
Ray: No, you can keep walking. You’re going to come out with a win tonight, though. Remember that.

Rasheed Wallace, an ACC guy, had to stir up rivalries a bit with “Bull___Big East locker room!” as he walked out to the court.

The media attention and adoration of Ray continued well after the game. In between, the Celtics showed a little bit of what to expect from them this season. They are going to be making a fuss of their own around the NBA. The new look Raptors got a little taste of that.

The Game

There were two alley oop dunks to an ever more lively Kevin Garnett, one from Rondo, one from Perkins. Kevin unleashed his 17 footer… like money in the bank, while adding two blocks, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Paul Pierce was 6 of 9 shooting, with 2 of 5 from the three point arc, adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.  One play, Paul retrieved his own miss and went back up for a dunk

Eddie House and Ray Allen, the two best long range shooters on the team  had tough nights, going 3-12 from long range. Ray was 1 for 7 on the night overall.

Kendrick Perkins had a strong game after getting torched early by Chris Bosh. Perkins finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds.

Glen Davis acquitted himself well and added 13 points, including a few baskets in heavy traffic and over the Raptor 7 footers Rasho Nesterovic and Andrea Bargnani. Glen constantly attacked the middle, taking game honors with 8 attempts, making 7.

Rajon Rondo was guilty of stealing the ball 4 times as he delivered 8 passes for assists, and generally created a bit of havoc for Toronto, while scoring 6 points.

Eddie House finished with 11 points, 4 assists, and a steal.

Second round draft pick Lester Hudson scored 12 points in the second half on 5 of 7 shooting, adding 2 assists and 2 steals in 13:30 of play.

Shelden Williams added 6 points on 6 attempts, while Marquis Daniels went 0 for 6, but had 2 assists. J.R Giddens added 4 rebounds and an assist in 13 plus minutes.

An overweight Michael Sweetney is attempting an NBA comeback. The Celtics are giving him time in the preseason. He added 4 points, 2 rebounds and a block in 10 minutes.

It was a memorable night, bringing an unforgettable UConn Husky home, one more time. He remains undefeated in Hartford. He will always remain so in the hearts of Husky Nation.

Celtics next game is also against the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Thomas Halzack