Tony Allen's been through a lot over the last few years — a torn ACL, torn MCL, bad knees that have dogged him constantly on both ends of the floor, and a whirlwind journey in and out and back into Doc Rivers' rotation.
Through it all, he's persevered.
On Saturday night, he saw all his perseverance pay off in the form of the Celtics' Sixth Star Award, presented by Comcast SportsNet. The award, given annually to the role player who best embodies the spirit of the Celtics' sixth man, went Allen's way for the first time in his six-year career with the Celtics.
"It's just the definition of hard work," Allen said. "It's what I've been through all this year, good and bad. It's just the true definition of hard work paying off. Evidently there's a lot more to be accomplished, but this has me heading in the right direction."
Allen has fallen in and out of favor with Rivers, but he's worked his way into a sixth-man role on the Celtics down the stretch by trusting his teammates, trusting his coaches, and trusting the Celtics' team concept.
"It's been a bit frustrating at times," Allen said of his journey this season. "But like I told you all at the beginning of the year, once I stuck my foot in to say 'ubuntu,' I'm down for the Celtics and I'm here to do whatever it takes. Some days, it was going to take me not playing, and some days, it took me playing. I just took it all in stride and just worked hard."
Now T.A. is a key role player off the bench in the Celtics' first-round series with the Miami Heat, and he's being looked to as a key cog in the Celtics' defense against Miami superstar Dwyane Wade. He's up to the challenge, but at the same time, he downplays his own individual role.
"It's a team defense," Allen said. "We win as a team, we lose as a team, we get our accomplishments done as a team. At the end of the day, we're a team. So that's how I'm looking at it."
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