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NBA / Jun 4, 2010 / 6:03 pm

Boston’s NBA Finals X-Factor is Tony Allen

Because he’s turning 50 this year, my Dad is pulling for the Celtics to win the NBA championship. “They’re the old-school team,” he said earlier in the playoffs. In other words, he can look at Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace and not feel like he’s watching a bunch of kids.

But my Dad isn’t a full-time Celtics fan or even a full-fledged NBA fan. He has a hard time remembering who played in the Finals from year-to-year, so he has to keep asking me “Who’s that guy?” questions when it comes to Boston role players like Kendrick Perkins, Marquis Daniels and Big Baby Davis.

So last night’s Game 1 was like watching him go through a one-night SparkNotes version of The Tony Allen Experience, the same one true Celtics fan have been enduring for the last six years.

In the first quarter, when Tony was making aggressive drives to the cup and throwing up wild shots, Dad said, slightly annoyed, “Tony Allen is playing totally out of control.” (My response: “He always plays like that.”) Maybe 20 minutes later, Dad was yelling at the TV, “Man, take that guy out! He sucks!” after another Tony turnover. In less than one half of basketball, he’d seen Tony Allen’s potential, then seen his warts, then decided he didn’t like him. And I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if the Celtics are going to come back and beat the Lakers, Tony Allen will have to be a crucial X-factor.

In 16 minutes off the bench, Tony recorded 4 points (1-4 FG), zero assists, two turnovers and four fouls. With Ray on the bench for long stretches in foul trouble, Tony had to guard Kobe Bryant, to predictable results. His overall body of work — one highlight-reel dunk, some attempts to push the pace offensively, a tough effort on defense — should be about all you’d expect from a 6-4 athlete who’s short for a two-guard but can’t dribble or pass well enough for a point guard. But Tony has to play above and beyond expectations now if he’s going to earn his second championship ring.

If Game 1 is any indication, the older Celtics have to run to beat L.A., and Tony excels in the transition game. And even if the refs don’t decide to dick-slap Ray Allen like they did on Thursday, Tony will have to be a major contributor defensively in the group effort to slow down Kobe. Boston’s bench in general will have a lot to do with whether they can win four games over the next six, but Tony is the biggest key to that bench producing positive results. He can take the ball to the rack for a team that settled for too many jumpers last night. He can allow Ray and/or Paul Pierce time to rest their legs for the fourth quarter. About the only thing he can’t do is shoot threes, but Boston has enough guys capable of hitting those.

Look at how Tony played in the Cleveland series. He didn’t put up big numbers — his best stat line was a 15-point, 5-rebound, 2-steal effort in Game 4 — but he provided a spark on both ends of the floor and helped Boston more than he hurt with bad decisions and turnovers. It’s odd because his season splits say otherwise, but it seems to me that Tony is a better player at home than on the road (his FG percentage is up, turnovers are down) because he’s an energy player who feeds off the crowd.

When this series goes to Boston for Games 3, 4 and 5, Tony Allen has a chance to make his biggest impact and potentially swing things the Celtics way.

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  • SlimeBucket

    Man the Celtics are in trouble if Tony Allen is who is going to turn around the series. How about if KG gets 3 years younger? He needs to shut down Pau and score around 20. So Tony Allen played good against Cleveland? That was with the starters playing great against them so he can follow and also matching up against a crappy 2 guard most of the time. That is why he is a bench player. He doesn’t have a history of impacting games or even winning them ala Jason Terry, Odom, or even Dragic. Tony Allen wouldn’t even crack the bench rotation for the Suns. I love old KG but he deserves it for taking a big time 3 year contract and then the Boston front office didn’t match Posey, let Powe go, and traded Eddie House. Then they over payed for Rasheed Wallace. It seems like Boston made all the wrong moves after they won their first championship. I mean Doc Rivers sees the handwriting on the wall which is why he says he probably will retire after this year. Meanwhile, LA gets Artest after winning a championship. LA gets better after winning and Celtics got worse. I hate both franchises and the Spurs and Pistons. I wish the Thunder had gotten Marcus Camby. Oh well.

  • EN FUEGO

    the other allen is the x-factor alright. but celtics can’t afford to wait for game 3 at home and do that. good thing they have a w-factor in rasheed, a y-factor in nate robinson, a z-factor in finley, including a ?-factor in marquis daniels. and dont forget the garnett knee-factor and the insane-factor in artest. ron is due for doing something stupidly insane anytime.

  • sh!tfaced

    He still ain’t no James Posey.

  • Jay

    I agree with Slimebucket that if Allen is the x-factor then Celts are in trouble. The dude just isn’t a good basketball player, period. He can’t shoot, is an overrated defender, and is just a plain undisciplined ball player. A knucklehead who tore his ACL by dunking during a dead ball is supposed to check the most talented player in the game?

    However, if Allen does well, I assume that could mean good things for the Celts… it’s like when the slow kid at the end of the bench comes in and drops 10 points you know it’s a blowout in some direction.

  • LakeShow84

    “and is just a plain undisciplined ball player”

    Yep if thats X-Factor ima call and make reservations in SoCal right now..

  • 808

    I wish y’all at Dime had the Smack archives from 2 years ago when Boston won the whole thing. Tony Allen was just starting to make his way back after that stupid knee injury, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. Back on these blogs, I was just shtting on Allen because all he did was put up terrible shots. When he did take it to the hole, he would just get blocked OR he would simply just try to draw the foul throwing up crazy layup attempts.

    2 years later not much has changed. It looks like TA got some of his strength back as witnessed by that one-handed alley earlier in the Playoffs. But to me, that dunk just made it worse, because now Allen thinks he’s a superstar and continues to put up shots that really does nothing to help the offense.

    X-factor? I don’t know about that. Boston has a better chance trying to put Finley or Nate Rob out there as a spot shooter and hope that Rondo can get to the hole, draw a double and hit these guys for an open 3.

  • K Dizzle

    Y’all catch Tony Allen takin the ball in for a windmill dunk when he got fouled on a breakaway by Farmar after the play was dead?

    Fool, you tore your acl doin that exact same thing last time! SMH

  • EN FUEGO

    he’s still better than vuja-bitch. HAHAHAHAHA

  • asmaticasiatic2

    Regardless, I gotta give Tony props for coming back after acl surgery; I’m in the process of getting back in the game and its no joke…..He’s played decent at times during the post season, gonna have to bring that back if the celts want to compete….

  • b

    ‘sheed is boston’s x-factor. did you see how well he defended gasol? and he’s more likely to get a shot up more than KG at the moment… they even put him on the box a few times with mixed results – usally a stop in play. he needs more minutes for boston to have a chance as KG certainly looked more like a punk than anyone else out there…

  • http://www.nba.com smoove chips

    tony the x factor…?
    I hope and pray the celts are thinking along the same lines lol

    if that’s the case my initial assesment of lal in 7 just became a laker sweep.this Allen?wow…
    LAL all day.

  • JD

    Tony Allen is not an overrated defender and you all know it. Kobe is just crazy good period. Yeah Tony doesn’t have a shot, but he can run with the best of em and disrupt the Lakers offense alongside Rondo. Tony Allen will come through when the celtics need him to, believe it.

  • UncheckedAggression

    I agree with most of these guys. If Tony Allen is the X factor, the Celtics are FUCKED.

  • Nathan

    TA may not be the most versatile offensive player, but he is hands down the best defender on the Celts. Watch him guard Kobe. No one else on the Celtics comes close. 2 steals tonight game 2, 12 min. That’s 8 steals at 48 min per game. He’s not Posey, but be grateful that TA can guard Kobe when Ray-Ray comes off the court.

  • 45%

    tony allen. jesus wtf is this.