In the second half of the Maine Red Claws’ game Tuesday at Long Island, point guard Kadeem Allen signaled that he could use a rest.

Coach Brandon Bailey, aware of injuries to two other starters, shook his head.

“I just had to stay out there,” Allen said, “get through it and keep playing.”

Allen not only kept playing, but with bigs Anthony Bennett and Guerschon Yabusele sidelined with foot problems, shouldered much of the offensive load. He poured in 46 points, including 33 after halftime.

It was a remarkable total, nearly doubling his previous high this season (24) and putting him fourth in Claws history for single-game scoring. Not bad for a guy whose college high at Arizona was 18, a guy the Boston Celtics drafted late in the second round (53rd overall) in June on the strength of his defense.

“There’s just not a lot of great defensive point guards in the NBA,” Bailey said. “He could be a rarity.”

Back at the Portland Expo on Thursday night, Allen again led all scorers with 30 points as the Red Claws beat the Greensboro Swarm 110-100 before a crowd of 1,748. Allen also matched his season high in assists with eight and added seven rebounds as the Claws overcame a four-point halftime deficit.

“He’s on a roll,” said center Devin Williams, who pulled down 21 rebounds and scored 20 points. “The shots that he wasn’t making earlier in the season, he’s starting to make now.”

The Claws also got 17 points from Josh Adeyeye and 12 from Daniel Dixon, improving to 15-15 with 20 games remaining. Greensboro is 9-21.

Allen who recently turned 25, grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina and attended the same high school (Laney) a Michael Jordan. He was the fifth of his mom Bernadette’s eight children, and such a substantial baby that his aunt dubbed him Big Bruiser.

“It went from Big Bruiser to BB,” Allen said. “They still call me BB.”

In Boston they call Allen a plus-seven because his wingspan is 7 inches longer than his 6-foot-2 height. That allows him to infiltrate passing lanes, poke away dribbles and get his shot off against taller defenders, particularly after drawing contact.

“Sometimes you’ll get a foul call because you’re reaching out so far, they have no choice but to hit you,” Allen said. “Having long arms helps with every aspect on the court, honestly.”

Allen wasn’t recruited heavily in high school. He didn’t travel with AAU teams.

“Growing up, with my mom raising eight kids,” he said, “the money wasn’t always there. Sometimes there’s a sacrifice.”

Instead of a high-profile college program, Allen enrolled in a community college in Kansas, overcame early bouts of homesickness and, in his second season, was junior college player of the year. Although he averaged 27 points per game and scored as many as 41, Arizona recruited him for a different reason.

The Wildcats liked his defense.

“Going to Arizona, it was just a different mindset, a different approach,” Allen said. “We needed a defensive stopper on that team so I had to step up to the challenge and accept that role. That’s something that stayed with me and got me where I am today.”

After a redshirt year, Allen became a mainstay for the Wildcats. He earned all-Pac 12 defensive honors. More importantly he earned a degree in human development, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.

And his is a large family. In addition to the seven siblings on his mom’s side, he has 13 more from his dad.

“For my nieces and nephews, for my younger brothers and sisters, I just tried to set the blueprint for them,” Allen said. “Show them there’s a way, that you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. Just put your mind to it.”

In the fall of his senior year, he also became a father. Genesis is now 1 and lives with her mother, Fatima, in Wilmington. Kadeem and Fatima have been together since 2012.

“You’re not first anymore,” Allen said. “(Genesis) made me grow up more, be more mature. I have a purpose in life now. That’s what gets me going every time I step on that court, is thinking about my daughter. I just try to go out there and play my heart out for her.”

In July, Allen became the Celtics’ first two-way player, meaning he earns $75,000 as a Red Claw but the NBA rookie minimum (a pro-rated version of about $816,000) for up to 45 days with Boston. So far the Celtics have recalled him for 10 days. Playing in the NBA remains the goal, one that is drawing closer. And if Genesis isn’t motivation enough, Allen can look down to the tattoo running down his right leg and read: Self Made.

“That gets me through a lot,” he said. “I’m not saying I got here by myself. I had a lot of help from others. But not playing AAU, not having a lot of offers, having to go the (junior college) route, I feel it made me the player and person I am today.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.