MIAMI -- When Ray Allen left to join the Boston Celtics for their road trip, his ailing son began to cry.
Walker Allen's tears dried, though, when reminded that his father would be playing basketball on television.
"That was a beautiful thing," Ray Allen said.
Thanksgiving was a difficult time for Allen and his family, with his diabetic 2-year-old son in and out of the hospital, even getting brought back in the middle of the night because of vomiting -- 31 2 hours after leaving the hospital. The Celtics' guard missed practice Saturday, but when the plane took off, Walker Allen's condition had improved enough to allow his father to be with the team.
Not only was Allen in the starting lineup Sunday night when Boston opened a four-game trip in Miami, he scored 11 points and hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:38 left as the Celtics beat the Heat 92-85.
"Our policy is ‘family first' and we made that clear," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "If Ray thought that he needed to be home, then he should stay home. That's always. And if he needs to get home, he needs to go home. He knows that. He thought everything was good and that he could come on the trip."
Allen said it was difficult to leave his son.
"He wanted to come with me," Allen said.
Allen learned of his son's diagnosis during the 2008 NBA finals. Less than 48 hours after leaving a Los Angeles hospital with his son and taking a red-eye flight back to Boston, Allen scored 26 points in the Celtics' 131-92 championship-clinching romp over the Lakers for the franchise's 17th NBA title.
This latest spate of hospital visits was not originally related to Walker Allen's blood-sugar level. He vomited repeatedly and was lethargic, Ray Allen said, prompting the first hospital visit. Upon returning home, Walker Allen began getting sick again, this time in his sleep, and his blood-sugar got very low.
"That's what we've been dealing with," Ray Allen said.
But on Saturday, improvement seemed to start. Walker Allen danced a bit when his father turned on some music -- "that's one of his favorite things," his father said -- and that put Ray Allen's mind more at ease.
"I have four kids," Rivers said. "I don't know how you do it, honestly."
Allen acknowledged it wasn't easy.
"Today was tougher than I expected, thinking and hoping he was OK," Allen said after the game. "I got the word that he was better once I got on the floor. But just knowing what he's having to deal with and me trying to switch the focus it was tough. Teammates carried me through it. That's a beautiful thing."