LeBron James says Celtics fans shout down anyone not dressed in green. Chris Bosh says emotions will be high. Ray Allen has returned to his former, diplomatic self, saying he’s happy to be in Boston but has moved on from being a Celtic.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers? Well, despite all the riff-raff that happened when Allen first left and fired parting shots on his way out of Boston, Rivers says he just wants the best for his former player, too.
“I hope he gets a good round of applause,” Rivers said of Allen returning to Boston on Sunday for the first time since he left as a free agent. “He did a lot for this franchise. I know he’s a great guy.”
Allen’s teammates aren’t quite expecting Celtics fans to roll out the welcome mat, though.
“I don’t expect it to be good,” James said, according to The Miami Herald. “If you don’t wear green in that building, they don’t like you.”
Bosh, who also got an earful when he returned to Toronto after joining the Heat, said Allen can expect the feelings to be strong.
“All these emotions are pent up and brewing,” he said. “But it helped me focus in a lot more.”
“Everything I accomplished there and experienced there brought me to this place I am now,” he said. “And I’m appreciative for all of it, because the negative you learn from just the same. … I will deal with whatever emotions there are. You never know until you get there. Regardless of how they respond to me, it won’t change how I feel. I have great memories.”
Helping Allen’s Zen state is the collective fates of his former and current teams. The Celtics (20-23) have struggled without him around, seemingly lending credence to his comments about his value to the team. The Heat (28-12), meanwhile, aren’t having much trouble in the Eastern Conference and are looking for another NBA title. While Allen is posting career-lows across his stat line, he has the respect and involvement that he said led him to Miami in the first place.
Things have already simmered down considerably since the two teams met in the season opener, and from the niceties flowing now, the attention Sunday will probably — and rightly — be on the teams’ fates rather than Allen. But it sounds like everyone is coming into this matchup knowing they can expect a little heightened something.
Photo via Facebook/Ray Allen for three, Yes