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June 12, 2008

Ray Allen


Q. Ray, when you drove past Sasha on the iso late in the game, just take us through what was going through your mind, how you wanted to set that up and then how you executed it.
RAY ALLEN: Well, we were at the point in the game where they were going to try and foul us, and so I just was making sure that I was getting to the ball. If they were going to foul anybody, I wanted it to be me and go to the free-throw line. They hesitated, they stayed off the foul, so they got over half court and saw the shot clock was running down, and Kevin ran up to set a screen, and as he was setting the screen, I told him, back off, let me take him one-on-one, five, six seconds left, at least I'm going to get a good shot up. I just made my move, and I looked up and he was behind me and I had the whole basket free and clear. It worked out for me that time.

Q. Can you talk about just the never-say-die-attitude of this team?
RAY ALLEN: Well, a lot has been made of this team and the players on it. We've said all year that we're still learning each other. We've been put in situations where we've been tested throughout the regular season, and really the regular season doesn't mean anything because you get to the playoffs and the first couple rounds we have them on the road.
In the playoffs on the road we learned a lot about ourselves, and then in the Detroit series we were down 10 in the last game and we ended up coming back and winning the game. So we've learned a lot about ourselves. And we're still a fairly new team, and coming into these situations, we just said, just fight. No matter what's going to happen, just fight, do what you can do, play as hard as you can play, and we'll see how we end up. But nobody is ever going to quit.

Q. When you got past Vujacic, were you surprised at how open you were?
RAY ALLEN: I was surprised. I think it was Pau, he was guarding KG and he was the last guy down there, and he did rotate over, and that's why I switched to the other side of the -- to the glass, so he couldn't block it.
We got a lot of threes, I think, there in the fourth quarter when we penetrated and we threw the ball to our shooters.

Q. It looks like there's one moment where you're so open and you're waiting for Pau to come over. You can watch yourself decide, hey, what side of the basket am I going to put this up on. Do you remember thinking that?
RAY ALLEN: Well, typically when I penetrate any time, I try to read the defense and see what they do. So there were a couple times where I got into the lane and I threw the ball out and James Posey got a couple threes. So I tried not to pre-determine my next move, and that was one of those situations where if he did rotate, I knew I had Kevin. There were a lot of times where I may have passed up a lot of open shots, but I know at least making a play for my teammate is going to make us a better team in the long run.

Q. Can you talk to us a bit about the feeling being one win away from the title?
RAY ALLEN: We have to take -- the preparations are going to be the same. We have to come in this building, a hostile building, we have to come in here and we have to get a win. It's not going to be easy, so we'll take the two days to prepare for what we're going to face in their adjustments. But I think we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We've got to take care of business.

Q. It would seem to me that your biggest battle now is over confidence because it's hard to believe you guys could lose three straight at this point, though. Just comment on that.
RAY ALLEN: Well, I think that's something to talk about in the papers and on TV, but as a team, a team that has been trying to strive for excellence all year, we made it our deal to not worry about stats, not worry about who the leading scorer was, how many rebounds we got. We just wanted to play basketball.
At this point it's the same thing. We have a task at hand. We have a game that we have to play and we have to win. So we're not going to get too worried about what's on the other side of the fence yet. The joy and the journey and the process that we've talked about all year long, you know, enjoy the process and continue the process, because the process is going to get us to where we want to go.

Q. In the third quarter was the signature play of that quarter in your mind Paul's block on Kobe's jumper?
RAY ALLEN: I think it was Paul just in general when he started guarding Kobe, because I think he just started competing. I mean, he had been competing the whole time, but it just -- you could just see he just went up another level of competition on both ends of the floor. He was guarding the Lakers' best player, and on offense he was attacking it just the same. I think that was probably one of the pivotal moments.

Q. What was your reaction when Paul volunteered to make the switch?
RAY ALLEN: (Laughing) it was interesting because I know Paul wanted to conserve his energy for the offensive end and we needed him on the offensive end. I didn't want him to get in a lot of foul troubles, and I had been guarding Kobe for the most part of the series. I knew what he was trying to do, and I would have suggested it a long time ago, but it took for Paul to say, "let me guard him." When he said that, I knew he wanted him and he was ready for the challenge, and I was like, "let's do it, take him." Because it just created more of an opportunity for us in transition, and they were looking. We got some easy baskets in transition, they were trying to find me, they were trying to find Paul because they were cross-matched. It just took his level of competition up. It was great that he started -- he was competing, and it just woke him up.

Q. Would normally that have been an issue sometimes?
RAY ALLEN: No, it's never an issue. The year has been -- from a competition standpoint, you've got so many guys on this team that are very prideful about defense, and the best match-up all year, whether it's a point guard or a center, at least somebody else on the team has said, "let me guard him." Everybody feels like they can guard him, or he can score two buckets on you, switch off, and everybody is like, "no, I'm going to guard him." Everybody has felt that way all year. Team defensively, we've been pretty staunch all year, just trusting each other and respecting each other on the defensive end, and if something went not the right way or somebody was not where they were supposed to be, a guy was let known about it. So we've been pretty good, and we've respected each other and we've competed.

Q. All this playoffs long, in the Cleveland series, your shooting slump was the main discussion point. But as the series went, just like Boston Celtics, your game, at least your offensive game, got better. Can you talk about Boston Celtics maturing in the playoffs and your game offensively?
RAY ALLEN: Well, I think as a team, I said earlier that we grew. We've grown all year from the regular season. And then when the playoffs started, we had a lot of young players on our team that hadn't been in the playoffs, so they didn't really know what to expect, didn't know what to bring. So as a team we were still learning those first couple rounds of the playoffs.
As for myself, you know, I think all year it's just been one of those seasons for me where I was just playing off of Paul and Kevin and just making sure that I filled the gaps. We were going for those guys on the post and I had to find my offense.
Atlanta wasn't as tough, but when we hit Cleveland, Cleveland did everything they could to take me out of the offense because throughout the regular season I was the leading scorer on the team every time we played them. So they did everything they could to take me out of it. As tough as it was, as frustrating as it was, I had to figure out ways to make plays for the team. That was a learning point for all of us, making sure that we made plays for the team and just did the simple things over and over again.
Again, we got through that and we fought Detroit, a tough Detroit team. So there's been a great progression of growth throughout the regular season to each round of the playoffs for us.

Q. One last thing. You played 48 minutes today. Is this two days maybe much better for you?
RAY ALLEN: Oh, I look forward to the two days, although I would love to play again on Saturday having the time off. Sometimes it can break you up a little bit too much, but being able to play is what we would love to do.
There was a point out there in the game where I knew I wasn't coming out, and I just said I have to suck it up. I have plenty of time to rest the next couple of months, so suck it up.

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