Celtics' Allen plays in Game 3 vs Hawks
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By JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON (AP) Celtics guard Ray Allen, who had been out since April 10 with bone spurs in his right ankle, returned on Friday night for Game 3 of Boston's first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
Allen received a standing ovation when he checked into the game with 4:40 left in the first quarter, and he quickly hit his first shot, a baseline jumper. He left in the second quarter and came in about 90 seconds later, finishing the half with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting in 16 minutes.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Allen was able to make it through practice on Thursday without any trouble, and also reported no difficulty after Friday morning's shootaround.
"He looked OK. He looked a little rusty, but he was OK," Rivers said before the game, adding that there would be no limits on Allen's minutes. "He hasn't gone up and down since he's been injured. We only did half court yesterday so this tonight will be his first time playing full court in about three weeks."
A likely Hall of Famer who is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers, Allen missed 20 games in the 66-game season, including the last 10. He played in just five games in the final month, coming off the bench in four of them for the first time in his career.
"I think he just came to that conclusion that the pain's not going to go away," Rivers said. "He has to find a way to play with it, and he has to find a way to be effective with it.
The series is tied 1-1, with Games 3 and 4 in Boston.
Atlanta was without leading scorer Josh Smith, who will be sidelined after spraining his left knee in Game 2.
Updated May 4, 2012