Tough Mission

Ray Allen was the face of the Seattle SuperSonics for more than four seasons.

After changing shades of green in the offseason, he's now sharing the spotlight with two other superstars while helping the Boston Celtics to one of the best starts in the team's storied history.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Boston -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 192 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Allen returns to Seattle for the first time - and only time this season - as the Celtics continue their first western road trip on Thursday against the rebuilding Sonics.

Allen was traded from Milwaukee to Seattle at the trade deadline in 2002-03. He finished that season as the Sonics' leading scorer, and went on to claim the same honor each of the following four years.

Despite his relatively brief tenure with the Sonics, Allen ranks 11th in franchise history with 7,273 points and third with 869 3-pointers.

The Sonics, though, made the playoffs just once in Allen's time with the club. After securing the No. 2 overall selection in June's draft - a pick they used on Texas phenom Kevin Durant - they began their rebuilding process by trading Allen to Boston on draft night.

That trade convinced Kevin Garnett, who spent the first 12 seasons of his career with Minnesota, that the Celtics were committed to building a contender. Garnett joined Allen and Boston mainstay Paul Pierce in July.

The new-look Celtics have jelled faster than expected, opening the season with just the fourth 23-3 start in franchise history to claim the league's best record.

Allen is scoring 19.3 points per game - his lowest average since the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season - but the 12-year veteran is enjoying unprecedented team success.

Meanwhile, the young Sonics (8-20) have stumbled out of the gate. Durant leads all rookies with 20 points per game, but he's shooting just 40.5 percent from the field - the lowest mark among players that rank among the league's top 10 in shots attempted.

Durant was 8-for-20 with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists as the Sonics lost 89-79 at Portland on Christmas Day.

"It really doesn't seem like Christmas. I'm used to sitting in the house and watching Kobe (Bryant) play," Durant said. "It's an honor playing on a great day like this, but it would have been better if we had gotten the win."

After losing their first seven home games, the Sonics have won four of their last six at KeyArena. The Celtics, meanwhile, own a league-best 9-2 road record.

Allen had a team-high 17 points as Boston beat Sacramento 89-69 in the opener of its four-game trip against Western Conference teams on Wednesday. The Celtics struggled in the third quarter, but held the Kings to 13 points in the fourth to pull away for their 12th victory in the last 13 games.

"If we play like we played in the first half I'm fine with being on the road," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "If we play like we did in the second half the road can be long. We just have to do a better job of executing on both ends."

The Celtics can match their win total from last season with a victory in Seattle. They split two meetings with the Sonics last season en route to a 24-58 finish.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics vs. Cavs Game 4 Pick Will the Cleveland Cavaliers bounce back after an embarrassing loss when they host the Boston Celtics tonight in Game 4 at...
Thumbnail Warriors vs. Spurs Game 4 Pick Will the Golden State Warriors continue their dominance of the San Antonio Spurs when they meet up in Game...
Thumbnail Celtics vs. Cavs Game 3 Pick Will the Cleveland Cavaliers show any mercy to the Boston Celtics when the two meet in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight at...
Thumbnail Warriors vs. Spurs Game 3 Pick As the Western Conference Finals shift to the home of the San Antonio Spurs, will they be able to hang with the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the series tonight...
Thumbnail Cavs vs. Celtics Game 2 Pick Will the Cleveland Cavaliers cruise to another big win when they face the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight at...

NBA Headlines

  • BOSTON (AP) It took 10 games and halfway through the third round of the NBA playoffs before the Cleveland Cavaliers finally encountered their first true dose of resistance this postseason.
  • DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) Hal Childs, a former assistant general manager for the New York Knicks and public relations director for the Golden State Warriors and Seattle Mariners, has died of complicatio...
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) A celebrity trainer known for getting the Kardashian clan into shape is going to work for the Los Angeles Lakers.
    Gunnar Peterson is the Lakers' new director of strength and ...
  • A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Milwaukee Bucks are opening up their search for a new general manager after John Hammond left to join the Orlando Magic....
  • ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Jeff Weltman wanted to run his own organization and the Orlando Magic have given him that opportunity.
    Weltman was formally introduced Wednesday as the franchise's new pres...

NBA Team Pages