Celtics guard Tony Allen cautioned against expecting too much too soon when he was in the lineup for the first time this season Tuesday night against Milwaukee.
Coming off the first significant ankle injury of his career, Allen took extra time to ensure he was returning at full health, and said it would take him some time to get back in playing shape. Allen logged six scoreless minutes in a win over Milwaukee, but showed some positive signs that he could make an impact on this team, particularly with reserve guard Marquis Daniels sidelined after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb Wednesday.
But Allen far exceeded even his own expectations Thursday night in Washington.
Allen connected on 4 of 5 shots for eight points, with three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. Most impressively, he finished with a game-high plus-14 in the plus/minus category, showing how much he contributed at both ends of the floor in a dominant second quarter for the Green.
“[Allen] was big for us," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "He came in and gave us some very productive minutes. He was able to play defense for us and he came back in the nick of time with Marquis being out so he was able to fill the void. We are able to put him on different guys, defensively, and what people don’t know is that he can get to the basket and score the ball, too.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers showered praise on a second unit that featured Allen, Shelden Williams, Rasheed Wallace and Eddie House -- along with a combination of Pierce and Ray Allen -- in helping Boston open a 14-point halftime advantage.
"Tony was terrific," said Rivers. "That's what our bench has to do at times, help stretch out that lead."