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Allen strong at the finish line

BOSTON -- Given the circumstances, Ray Allen was not the likeliest of candidates to break what felt like a never-ending stalemate late in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' 91-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Allen was practically a non-factor in the scoring column, having put up just five points on 2-of-7 shooting, mainly due to limited time because of foul trouble. But with 4:24 to play, and the score deadlocked at 79, as it had been for two never-ending minutes, Allen curled tightly around a Brandon Bass screen, received a pass from Kevin Garnett on the wing, and did, well, what Ray Allen seems to always do.

Bury a 3-pointer that helped propel the Celtics to victory (even if things stayed tense until the final buzzer).

The theatrics didn't stop there, maybe only started. Allen came back less than two minutes later, and, from almost an identical spot, rose up for another clutch 3-point bomb from the right wing, this time behind a Garnett screen off of a feed from Rajon Rondo. His second triple put the Celtics ahead 88-83 with 2:48 to go -- the most comfortable margin the C's would enjoy for the rest of the evening.

"I was in foul trouble a little bit, so I was watching the game from the sideline it felt like the whole game," Allen said. "As a shooter/scorer, you just always know that that opportunity is coming. I didn't really shoot the ball a lot. I was right where I needed to be. It was just a matter of just being ready for when that shot came."

Allen finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including connecting on 3-of-5 attempts from 3-point nation. He hit his final three shots, scoring nine of his 14 in the final frame, with all of them coming in the final five minutes. In addition to his two clutch 3-pointers, he added a free throw following an ill-timed Mike D'Antoni technical foul, and a strong baseline drive that resulted in a contested layup at the rim.

Given the fact that Paul Pierce was in the midst of an offensively dominant 30-point performance, Allen's slow start was initially overshadowed, which made it that much more substantial when he took over as the Celtics' fourth-quarter go-to guy. But all it takes is a quick rewind of one's memory to recount how often Allen, since joining the Celtics in 2007, has hit shots just like those two.

Since coming to Boston, no one has done it more often. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Allen has made 118 fourth-quarter 3-pointers when it's been a one possession game with five minutes or less to play -- more than any other player in the NBA during that span.

"Ray really, once the game got tight, it seemed like he really just took over the game," said Pierce. "He made a couple 3's, drove to the basket, got the [layup], and that's what we're going to need."