Boston’s Murphy Waits to Help in ‘Exasperating’ Year

His to New Jersey originally excited him but subsequently resulted in frustration and outright exile from . The specter of hung over him like some Damoclean sword, as he was linked to a deal that was never made. He was told he would be sent to Detroit, another move that never occurred. That might have been the best thing that happened to him this season.

Traded in February back to his original team, the Warriors, he was quickly bought out and waived. Lottery-bound Golden State had no use for him. Then, on the open market, he listened to proposals from Miami and Boston — and chose the , who were down by 2-0 entering Saturday’s Game 3 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals against .

When asked Saturday about this season, Murphy said: “Exasperating. If you had told me it would have been like this, I would never have believed you.”

He also said he still would choose the Celtics even knowing now what he didn’t know then: that his team would be trailing Miami, and that he would be rendered to wallflower status at the most critical juncture of the season. He is not part of Coach ’s rotation and has yet to play against the Heat.

“You can’t look back,” Murphy said, choosing his words carefully after the morning shoot-around at the Celtics’ practice facility outside Boston. “You make a decision and you stick with it. I made the decision to come here, and it is what it is. I felt both teams had a chance to compete for a championship, and Boston made more sense to me at the time.

“There was a definite tug of war. They were two of the top teams in the league. It was a very tough decision.”

made the 6-foot-11 Murphy worth pursuing. In 2009-10, he averaged 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds for Indiana, the fifth time he finished a season averaging double figures in those statistical categories. He was an excellent 3-point shooter for his size and had been a starter and contributor for most of his career.

That was certainly the expectation when the Nets acquired him from Indiana in a four-team, five-player trade last August. But Murphy, a native of Sparta, N.J., was soon hurt (back and foot injuries) and never fit in with the rebuilding Nets.

Soon, he was hearing his name mentioned almost daily in the trade talk involving Denver and Anthony, not because of his ability, but because his contract was needed to make the deal work.

“We thought there was a deal in the beginning of January, and I thought I was going to Detroit,” Murphy said. “I was told to stay home and wait a week for the deal to go through. It didn’t go through, but I still stayed home, and it went on like that.”

His last game with the Nets was Jan. 7. Then came a Feb. 23 deal to Golden State, the release by the Warriors on Feb. 28, and the subsequent signing with the Celtics on March 2. At the time, it looked like a brilliant stroke, for it was thought that Murphy would provide help for the Celtics in the playoffs.

But he sprained his right ankle in practice March 24 and he did not return until April 5. He has appeared in one playoff game — his first in 10 seasons — playing three minutes in the Celtics’ blowout Game 3 win over the in the first round.

“When he first got here, I’m not sure he was ready to play because he hadn’t played all year,” Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge said. “Then, he sprained his ankle. But since he has come back, I think he has looked very good. I know Doc has contemplated using him, but it’s tough with the depth we have. I know Troy is an option Doc believes in and trusts in.”

Rivers has given Murphy the treatment — Be Prepared — and likens Murphy’s situation to that of Nate Robinson in 2010. Like Murphy, Robinson was a part-timer, but Rivers maintained that Robinson would help them win a playoff game. He was right. Robinson played a huge role in the Celtics’ Game 4 victory over the in the N.B.A. finals.

But will that day ever come for the 31-year-old Murphy? He has no clue.

Asked whether he thought his first N.B.A. playoff experience would be different, Murphy said: “Yeah, I did. But I was coming into a tough situation, a veteran team that is pretty well set and a coach that has been with that group for a while. It’s tough to get minutes in the middle of the year. Doc is comfortable with a certain group of guys, and those are the guys he goes with. There’s nothing I can really do about that.”

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Celtics’ Allen Savors a 3-Point Record, but the Lakers Celebrate a Victory

He hugged , right after breaking Miller’s career 3-point record. He hugged his coach, , and the assistant . He hugged Miller again. He hugged his mom, Flo Allen-Hopson. He hugged his wife, Shannon. He hugged his teammates.

Everyone else at the TD Garden just stood and cheered early Thursday evening as Allen became the most prolific 3-point shooter in history — an achievement marred just slightly by the , who ripped a 92-86 victory from Allen and the .

Foul trouble limited Allen in the second half, and injuries put a crimp in the Celtics’ rotation. finally spoiled the mood by scoring 20 of his 23 points in the second half to lead the Lakers to the victory in this latest rematch of perennial championship rivals.

It was a tough defeat for Boston, but Allen, now the career leader with 2,562 3-pointers, was still aglow an hour after the final buzzer.

“Definitely a magical moment,” he said, adding, “I almost felt a little embarrassed, because there was so much attention that was surrounding this 3-point record.”

The Lakers overcame an early 15-point deficit and gradually wore down the Celtics, who began the game without , and Marquis Daniels and finished it without Nate Robinson, who bruised a knee.

For the Lakers (37-16), who had been flailing lately, the win provided some relief. They had been 0-5 against the four top teams in the league, including a 13-point loss to Boston just 11 days earlier.

Pau Gasol (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 9 rebounds) took advantage of the Celtics’ thin front line all night. Allen led the Celtics (38-14) with 20 points, but scored just 6 in the second half.

Allen tied, then passed Miller with two 3-pointers in the first quarter and padded the total with another 3 in the fourth. Miller, sitting courtside as a TNT analyst, said he took pride in having served as a model for Allen years ago.

“I had a conversation with Ray earlier tonight and he was like, ‘When I was a rookie and I came to Market Square Arena and I saw you for three, three-and-a-half hours before shooting, that’s how I wanted to patent my game,’ ” Miller said during the broadcast.

Allen got the record with 1 minute 48 seconds left in the first quarter, on a feed from Rajon Rondo, who penetrated and kicked the ball out to him near the right wing. The ball swished. The roar was instant and sustained.

Twenty-two seconds later, as Bynum shot free throws, Allen took the opportunity to jog to midcourt and embrace Miller. The record was announced at the end of the quarter, setting off another round of hugs and roars. Allen held up his hand in acknowledgment, looking emotional.

Every electronic surface in the arena flashed the figure “2,561” in green and white.

“I’m truly happy for Ray,” said Bryant, who like Allen was drafted in 1996. “That’s just unbelievable.”

Allen came out firing from the start, teasing the crowd with three 2-point attempts before launching his first 3, from the left corner, to a soundtrack of “ooohs,” as the ball rattled in and out. His next attempt was true.

Allen dribbled to the top of the arc, just to the right of the key, then stopped and launched. The crowd, 18,624 strong, screamed in elation when the ball swished through. He and Miller were tied.

Allen shot another 3 on his next trip down the court, but it bounced off the rim, delaying history for a few more minutes. He missed the next one as well before finally meeting destiny — 14 years and 3 months after hitting his first 3-pointer, as a Milwaukee Buck, on Nov. 1, 1996.

A video montage showed Allen making big 3-pointers with the and the and finally the Celtics, the team he joined in a trade in 2007.

“It is a moment that I had to catch my breath a little bit, because I was emotional,” he said, adding, “It’s a moment that is going to stay with me forever.”

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