Allen surprised by trade but comfortable with C's
SEATTLE -- As always, Ray Allen arrived at KeyArena hours early, getting his pregame shooting completed before anyone started arriving.
Just like every other game he's played in the arena during the last five years, Allen started heading toward the SuperSonics locker room when he was done.
Boston's All-Star guard then caught himself and realized on this night, he's a visitor.
"It's definitely an odd feeling," Allen said.
Allen returned to Seattle for the first time Thursday night since being shipped to Boston on draft-day in a trade for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and the No. 5 pick in the draft that became rookie Jeff Green.
Nerves might have had something to do with one of Allen's worst games of the year. He shot only 4-of-13 for 10 points, but the Celts don't rely on one person these days. Paul Pierce picked up the slack with 37 points and Boston cruised to a 104-96 win.
Allen arrived in Seattle midway through the 2002-03 season and was a four-time All-Star with the Sonics, and led the team to the 2004-05 Northwest Division title.
Allen was greeted by a standing ovation when he was honored by the Sonics before tip-off for his work in the community during his time in Seattle, and during pregame introductions.
For the 4½ seasons he wore Seattle's uniform, Allen was the face of the franchise and the one almost always called upon to carry the Sonics offense and take the big shot in crucial situations.
Now, he doesn't need to lead all the time. With Kevin Garnett and Pierce now shouldering an equal amount of the load, Allen doesn't worry about forcing himself into the action.
So far, the trio has been masterful. Allen went into Thursday's game averaging 19.3 points, the lowest since his third season in the league. But that matters little to Allen -- the Celtics have a league-best 24-3 record.
"We've built such a [connection] with each other. Statistics don't matter," Allen said.
"It just seems between myself, Paul and [Garnett], that we're not as impressed to try and make All-Star teams, or score 40 or score 50, because we've done a lot of that the majority of our careers."
What Allen left behind in Seattle has struggled through an 8-21 start as the team tries to build an identity around rookie Kevin Durant and under new coach P.J. Carlesimo. Allen still feels connected to the Sonics, having become a mentor for the likes of Luke Ridnour and Damien Wilkins during his time in Seattle.
Allen always thought of Wilkins as a little brother. Wilkins moved into Seattle's starting lineup in Allen's place.
"I appreciate the minutes he left behind," Wilkins joked.
After Seattle got the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft lottery, Durant started anticipating the possibility of playing with Allen and Rashard Lewis. Allen was likewise excited, believing that Durant would be the third scorer the Sonics needed to take the load off himself and Lewis and propel Seattle back into the playoffs. Allen was also eager about getting to mentor Durant as he had other youngsters.
Those dreams were altered on draft night, a day Allen kept referring to as "trade day."
"I don't know why I keep saying trade day. But I looked at the potential and ... when we got the No. 2 pick we were looking good, we were looking real good," Allen said. "Having me and Rashard in the fold would have made it so much easier on Durant."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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