MIAMI - Ray Allen knew his old Boston teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were in the building and on the court Tuesday night, but the Heat sharpshooter said he doesn't notice the players on the other team.
That's why no matter how much anyone and everyone tried to say Allen had extra motivation in Game 1 of the series against the Nets, he disputed it. He said the other team is "blank" and he just focuses on himself and his team.
That approach has worked well for him throughout his career and again Tuesday night when he lit up the Nets for 19 points.
"I've always been that way," Allen said after practice Wednesday. "You know tendencies of players or what guys may want to do, but you try not to get caught up in who it is."
The three old Celtics, who won an NBA championship together in 2008, haven't spoken since Allen left Boston for Miami. He says "it's in the past," and hasn't tried to reconcile anything. Allen continues to just play and hit big shots. And take them, as he did when he hit the floor on a screen by Garnett in Game 1.
"I think it's really about the series," Allen said. "It's not about individuals here. I'm not guarding Kevin. I'm not guarding Paul. I think you're going to make a story that doesn't exist. It's about this team and what I've focused on with these guys is trying to build a championship here. So I just don't think there's a story there."
Allen, who rescued the two-time reigning champion Heat from defeat in Game 6 of the Finals with a gargantuan three-pointer last year against the Spurs, hadn't been shooting the ball well in these playoffs before Tuesday night.
He was just 5-for-19 with 13 points in the Heat's first-round sweep of the Bobcats. But the Heat moved the ball well and found Allen in Game 1 against the Nets. He connected on 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 7 from three.
"They did a job in the first round of really trying to keep me out of the offensive flow," Allen said. "That's fine. We have plenty of guys on this team that can score. I'm not concerned whether I'm in the flow of the offense or not. I'm concerned with this team winning games."
The difference against the Nets, Allen said, was "great ball movement. When I came in the game there were shots that were consistent with what I had throughout the year."
LeBron James said he thought Allen was a little "juiced" because in the locker room before the game the TV was airing an old Celtics playoff game when Allen scored 51 points against the Bulls in 2009. It's a new Heat tradition to show old playoff games and not necessarily game film.
"It's not as strategic that you think," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We're just showing videos instead of showing soap operas or SportsCenter."
It got Allen's attention.
"It's good to see it," Allen said. "It was good to see it because far too often we get so removed from what's happening in the past you kind of get caught in present-day feelings and atmosphere. You always have to be reminded in small ways what you bring to the game."