Sweeping questions

Ray Allen drives to the basket in the Celtics' losing effort against the Hawks. Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen is one of the most thoughtful and eloquent speakers in the league. Unlike some of his peers who simply rehash the same tired cliches, Allen often listens to a question, takes a moment to digest the information, and produces an insightful response.

After Friday's 100-91 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, even Allen didn't have words to describe the Celtics' recent struggles. He could only shrug when asked why Boston has fared so poorly against the brass of the Eastern Conference, including a four-game season sweep at the hands of the Hawks.

It's the kind of struggles the Celtics haven't encountered since the Big 3 were united two seasons ago.

"It's just frustrating," said Allen. "As an athlete, when you lose, sometimes it's best to reserve your opinion. There's things we could have done a lot better -- better execution on offense and defense. We'll watch the film and get a fresher perspective. But it's just frustrating. You have to sit back and try to let this hurt, let it push you to be better.

"It's a new challenge, a new way to deal with things," he said. "It'll force us to be better, whatever happens. Moving forward from here, we have to know that being together is the best thing for all of us. When you sit atop the mountain, you think of all the adversity and bad things that happened to you along the way. Hopefully we can sit there some day."

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