Lack of TA hurt Boston bench

Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen, who really seemed to take his game to another level while pinch hitting for Paul Pierce as the captain recovered from a right knee infection in recent weeks, was sorely missed Friday in a 93-85 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Allen is battling an illness and, after missing the team's morning shootaround, stayed at the hotel while his teammates battled one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference. One look at bench production shows just how badly the Celtics could have used Allen.

Atlanta's Jamal Crawford single-handedly outscored the entire Boston bench, 18-12. While Crawford finished 7 of 12 from the field and scored 14 fourth-quarter points, the Celtics' four-man bench of Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Shelden Williams, and Glen Davis (J.R. Giddens did not play), finished a combined 3 of 10, with two fourth-quarter points.

Allen is averaging 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, while also providing some stellar defense, which would have come in handy against an athletic Hawks squad. He is expected to be back on the court Sunday against Toronto.