BOSTON (CBS) – With shooting guard Ray Allen struggling, head coach Doc Rivers is considering sitting the 15-year veteran as the Celtics battle the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“It’s a tough call with him,” Rivers told ESPNBoston’s Jackie MacMullan Tuesday afternoon. “We’re trying to figure out a different minute rotation for him, maybe that will help him. We’re even considering sitting him for a game, getting him a longer rest and then playing him, and then sitting him for a game. We don’t know what the right thing is.”
In Boston’s Game 1 loss Monday night, Allen scored just six points on 1-for-7 shooting over 39 minutes. Allen was 1-for-4 from three-point range, and just 3-for-7 from the free throw line on Monday night.
Allen missed the final nine games of the regular season and first two of the playoffs with bone spurs in his ankle. Since his return, Allen is averaging just 9.6 points, while shooting an uncharacteristic 39-percent from the field, 27-percent from beyond the arc, and just 60-percent from the free throw line.
The 36-year-old Allen is a career 89-percent free throw shooter. The 60-percent from the line is the lowest of his playoff career since his first year in the postseason, when he shot 8-for-13 (62-percent) over three games in 1998-98 with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In addition to his offensive struggles, Allen had difficulty on the defensive end guarding Miami’s Dwayne Wade in Game 1, who finished with 22 points.
However, Rivers admits that one of the reasons he has not sat the ailing Allen already is a lack of options. With Avery Bradley out for the rest of the postseason after undergoing shoulder surgery, Rivers only has Mickael Pietrus or Keyon Dooling to take Ray’s spot.
“MP (Pietrus) is going to have to be important,” Rivers told MacMullan. “Whether Ray plays or not in games, I think MP is going to be big for us, he has to be.”
Pietrus scored just one point in Game 1 in 17 minutes on the floor. Dooling played 12 minutes, knocking down one of the three three-pointers he attempted.
Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals is Wednesday night in Miami.