Huskies Square Off on Playoff Parquet

UConn Stars Ray Allen and Ben Gordon Shine in NBA Playoffs

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Steve Covault

Call it the clash of the UConn guards.  Ray Allen and Ben Gordon have gone "mano-a-mano" in their playoff shootout so far this month.

Allen kept his Boston Celtics from coming dangerously close to being the team that would go home early Monday at TD Banknorth Garden when he broke out of a slump to score 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.

That gave the defending NBA champs a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls Monday night and a split of the first two games of the best-of-seven series.

Gorden and Allen started with the Huskies. Gordon is in his fifth NBA season, eight fewer than Allen, but they've faced each other in summer pickup games in Storrs.

"I'll talk about it over the summertime and I'll laugh with him about it," Allen said. "We were exchanging jabs there, and I don't mean shots. I mean he caught me with an elbow. I got him right back with an elbow."

"UConn has a lot of great professionals," Gordon said, "so anytime you play against someone from UConn, you just want to go out there and outdo them. It's like a game within the game."

Gordon outscored Allen with 42 points exactly 23 years after Michael Jordan set an NBA playoff record with 63. But the Celtics beat the Bulls then, too, 135-131 in double overtime.

Gordon's last basket came with 12.3 seconds left, tying the score at 115. Then the Celtics set up a play for Allen, who took a pass from Rajon Rondo and connected from the right side.

Allen scored 28 of his 30 points after getting some advice from coach Doc Rivers at halftime.

"Doc said going into the half, 'Be aggressive, but let it come to you,"' Allen said. "I never think I'm not in my rhythm. It can be a grind as a shooter. As a scorer you're always trying to find something."

The Allen-Gordon shootout "almost looked like they turned it into a personal battle," Rivers said. "You know, who's the best UConn player to ever play? And it was amazing."

The match-up continues Thursday night in Game 3 in Chicago.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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