Kadeem Allen reached a milestone in his young pro career Tuesday, making his first career NBA start.
“I thought he was very solid,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game (via Celtics Wire).
Allen was filing in for Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Shane Larkin who are all sidelined with injuries.
“We don’t need him to try to be Terry, Kyrie, or Shane,” Stevens said. “We just need him to be Kadeem and to play to his strengths and I thought he did that really well. I thought he was a real plus tonight.”
Aside from his usual stingy defense, Allen’s highlight play was this first-quarter assist:
Allen said making his first start “felt good.”
“My teammates and coaches were lifting me up the whole night, just telling me to play my game,” he said (via the Celtics’ Twitter account).
One of Allen’s teammates, and former college opponents, had a lot of praise for him.
“Kadeem’s a dog, man,” said former Cal standout Jaylen Brown (via MassLive). “Since his Pac-12 days at Arizona, I couldn’t stand going against Kadeem, just because his ball pressure is nasty.”
It was only the 14th game Allen has appeared in with the Celtics this season — he has spent most of the year in the G-League — but he will likely continue to get more opportunities down the final stretch of the regular season so long as Boston’s guards remain sidelined.
The Celtics, who are 53-24 this season, only have five regular-season games left. They are in second in the Eastern Conference.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire