The most notable number in the box score from Wednesday's Celtics-Bobcats game might have been Ray Allen's minutes played at 17:42.
Eighteen minutes!? In 58 games this season, Allen has logged less than 30 minutes just four times, his previous season-low coming with 23:17 played in a 118-90 blowout of the Bulls on Oct. 30. Two quick fouls, coupled with the lopsided score, aided Allen in some rare rest Wednesday. For his career, he's only had 11 games in which he's played 18 minutes or fewer.
All season long, Celtics coach Doc Rivers has stressed how he needs to get Allen additional rest in order to keep him fresh late in games (and -- in the bigger picture -- the playoffs). Wednesday's game was a start, but the impending arrival of Michael Finley has the potential to lessen the minutes load shouldered by Allen.
Finley is coming to Boston with aspirations of winning a title, but he isn't coming to sit on the bench. Part of the reason he wanted out of San Antonio was a reduction in his minutes this season (15.8 minutes per game, down from 28.8 last season). With the flexibility Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels offer, we envision Finley not only spelling those two natural small forwards, but allowing the Celtics some flexibility to pull Allen off the court and use some combination of Pierce, Daniels and Finley at the 2 and 3 spots.
As for how much time Finley will receive, it is hard to see him even getting much above that 15.8-minute mark he had in San Antonio, but checking the stats of Boston's recent late-season free agent acquisitions suggests Rivers might find a way to get Finley around 18 minutes per contest. Sam Cassell (17.6 minutes per game), Mikki Moore (17.7) and Stephon Marbury (18) logged quality time. That much time would put Finley on par with what Tony Allen (18.4) is averaging this season. (P.J. Brown logged only 11.6 minutes per game in 18 regular-season appearances in 2007-08).