Allen scheduled for ankle surgery
OKLAHOMA CITY - Ray Allen said after the Celtics’ loss Saturday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals that he would have ankle surgery the next day if he could. Allen confirmed Monday night that he will undergo surgery at New England Baptist Hospital on Wednesday.
Allen, who turns 37 next month, was bothered by bone spurs during the second half of the season and missed three weeks in April. He returned for the postseason but was hampered by pain and soreness. He averaged 10.7 points and shot 30.4 percent from the 3-point line in 18 postseason games, well below his career averages.
Allen is a free agent and said he wants to play next season. He just finished a two-year, $20 million contract.
The Heat returned to the NBA Finals after a grueling series with the Celtics. Less than 48 hours after eliminating Boston, Miami players couldn’t help reflecting on the series.
Miami was trailing, 3-2, before LeBron James collected 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists to take Game 6 in Boston. He then tallied 31 points - including 11 in the fourth quarter - to take Game 7, 101-88. Just moments after the final buzzer, Celtics end Doc Rivers embraced James and told him to “go do it,’’ as in win a championship.
James was asked whether he was exhausted after perhaps the best back-to-back games of his playoff career.
“Game 6, I felt great,’’ he said. “Mentally it was draining. Physically it was draining, as well, but I felt great throughout that whole game. It’s draining when you finally get into the locker room and you guys see me got my feet in the ice tub and my knees are wrapped.
“Then after Game 7, it was even more draining, just the emotions around that series, knowing the team we beat, I mean, it’s probably one of the best-coached teams that you can ever compete against. Doc Rivers keeps those guys prepared, and they have four future Hall of Famers in Paul [Pierce], [Rajon] Rondo, KG [Kevin Garnett], and Ray. It’s challenging going against those guys. So it was very draining not only Game 6 and Game 7, but the series in general.’’
The Heat said they will use their victory over Boston as a confidence-builder for this matchup with the Thunder. Last year’s Heat team went through a series of highs and lows and that carried into the Finals when they were one quarter from taking the first two games, only to lose a 15-point lead in Game 2.
After winning Game 3 in Dallas, the Heat dropped the next three games, including the series clincher at home.
Dwyane Wade said Miami’s Game 2 win, a point of controversy for Celtics fans because of the officiating and noncall against Rondo in overtime, was a perfect example of the Heat’s growth in maturity from last season.
“[Against] Dallas, we had a lot of leads in that series in the fourth quarters, and we didn’t close them out,’’ Wade said. “But, you know, we’re just a different team now. I remember, I think Game 2 versus Boston, and we were down, I think, 15 in that game or something and we came back and won it in overtime. I remember me and LeBron telling Shane [Battier], I don’t know if we would have won that game [last year].’’
“That’s how much we’ve grown in a sense. We learn how to stick to it no matter what the situation is looking like, no matter what the outcome may be. We’ve learned now to be able to stick to it a little more, and last year we kind of let it go for whatever reasons. We just wasn’t the team that Dallas was . . . you’re going to be challenged in the Finals. There’s going to be a lot of moments where teams are challenged, and it’s how you respond.’’
Miami has been able to limit the effectiveness of Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook over the past two seasons. In four games against the Heat, Westbrook shot 31.2 percent from the field (25 for 80) with 23 assists and 16 turnovers. Miami has blended defenders on Westbrook, from Wade to James to Mario Chalmers.
“They’re a great defensive team,’’ Westbrook said. “They attack the ball real well, especially in pick and rolls, and do a great job of rotating. It definitely can be tough at times to score on them, but I watched a lot of film and try to find a way where I can be effective.’’
Wade was stunned when told the Heat had limited Westbrook, one of the game’s top point guards.
“We have? Westbrook? That’s news to me,’’ Wade said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete, man. He’s only getting better and better. Obviously we’ve got to have different guys guard him, to give him a different look. I always say this is a very good team, but Russell Westbrook is what makes them very special, because there’s no one else like him in the NBA. I think he’s the most athletic guy in the NBA for what he does and how he does it and how quick he does it.’’
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra wasn’t giving any hints to his starting lineup for Tuesday. Chris Bosh is a candidate to start after his 19-point effort in Game 7 against the Celtics but he could also go with Battier and Udonis Haslem in the frontcourt . . . Kevin Durant will draw the assignment of defending James, making for a matchup between the league’s reigning MVP (James) and three-time scoring champion.