BOSTON -- Having fought off the worst of an illness that kept him out of Wednesday's triumph over the New Jersey Nets, Ray Allen returned to the floor Friday night to score a game-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but the Celtics fell to the Pacers, 87-74.
Allen was the lone bright spot offensively on a night when the Celtics, as a team, shot the ball horrendously, and tied a franchise-low with only 25 points in the first half, on 9-of-34 shooting (26.5 percent). With Paul Pierce laboring through a 3-of-17 shooting performance and the bench combining to hit just 6 of 15 shots, Allen couldn't afford to let any lingering illness affect his production.
"I felt more winded during the day, and that's why, when I came in this morning, I made sure that I got that wind, running on the treadmill and then getting my shots up this morning and this afternoon," Allen said. "So, I felt good. I was tired, but, by game time I was back in my element, so once you play, nobody cares whether you're sick or not or how your body feels. I was keyed back in and it was like that is now in the past, so I have to move forward."
Allen finished the night having made four of his five 3-point attempts, bringing his season average up to an impressive 63.4 percent (26 of 41). With his team seeking momentum to mount a second-half comeback, Allen buried a pair of 3-pointers midway through the third frame that helped trim a nine-point Pacers lead down to two, but it wasn't enough to help the Celtics overcome poor offensive showings from many of Allen's teammates.
"Ray's doing what he does," said Pierce. "He knocks down shots so we get him open. But, unfortunately, myself and some other guys didn't step up enough offensively for us to win."