On Thursday in Los Angeles he showed us both sides.
After getting through a trade season which had him rumored to be heading to several different teams, Allen played as if a massive weight had been lifted off of his shoulders in the Celtics' 87-86 win over the Lakers.
In the process of systematically burying 10 of his first 11 shots en route to 24 points, the Celtics sharpshooter looked as relaxed as he had all season.
"Ray was huge," said C's head coach Doc Rivers. "I think we should threaten to trade him all the time and then pull it back because he was phenomenal tonight."
Rumors had swirled around Allen for weeks. He was headed to Golden State, Sacramento, Dallas or Washington in several scenarios. Through it all, his play suffered a bit, with five single-digit scoring efforts at the end of January and a 28.6 percent mark from the arc in February.
But in the hours after he learned that Boston would remain his home, Allen was able to put such ugliness behind him.
The 34-year-old had 10 points in the first quarter, and his lone basket of the second was a dunk on the break that brought the Celtics bench to its feet. Twelve more points came in a span of six minutes in the third quarter, when Boston opened up its largest lead on the defending champs.
When the shots finally stopped falling in the fourth, Allen drew from the wisdom gained before the trade deadline. Essentially, stay the course.
He helped force a key turnover with 31 seconds left and did a nice job to avoid fouling Derek Fisher in the act of shooting just before the final buzzer, while still forcing the Lakers guard to miss badly.
On the Staples Center floor moments later, Allen reflected on a day which saw Boston ship Eddie House to New York, himself spared and a personal rebirth on the court.
"I knew it going into the season that, come trade deadline, my contract was going to look attractive," he said. "We lost Eddie today. We wish him well. He's been our brother for the last three years. But we've got a great player coming in Nate Robinson. This is what the game is all about. The franchise is going to do whatever [it] can to make the team better, and we want to win championships, so we welcome any help we can get."
At one turn a calculating businessman. At another a compassionate teammate. As was the case in his best game of the season, Allen offered up both sides.