by Micah Hart
The Celtics beat the Heat for the second time this season, this time with a 112-107 victory on Miami’s home court. There are many other places on the webernets where you can read about What This Game Means, but I want to focus today on the hero of last night’s win, Ray Allen, who hit his first seven 3′s on the way to a team-high 35 points.
Allen is most definitely on the downslope of his terrific career, and while I feel certain he’ll eventually be a Hall of Famer, the consensus around the office this morning is that it probably won’t happen on the first ballot, and that makes me kind of sad (even though it really doesn’t mean anything), because Ray is the finest shooter these eyes have ever seen.
Allen’s performance last night was vintage. It was at once remarkable and ordinary. Remarkable because it takes an amazing amount of talent and dedication to reach his level of success as a shooter, and ordinary because making seven 3′s is just what Ray does — it was the 22nd time he’s done it in his career.
It also made me feel old. I literally said to myself last night as he continued to pour in jumpers, “They really don’t make them like him anymore.”
Who is Allen’s heir when he retires in the not-too-distant future? What NBA player has worked on their jumper to the fanatical extreme the way Ray has, to the point where he only needs thismuchroom to get off a picture perfect shot no matter where he is on the court or which way his body is leaning. The only person I can think of is Stephen Curry, but that has more to do with aesthetics than game, as I assume he’ll remain as much a facilitator as scorer deep into his NBA career.
Allen doesn’t have a ton of time left, and when he leaves, I don’t think people will notice his absence as much as they should. But when he does, it will always be nice to look back on nights like last night and marvel at the artistry, and remember that as easy as he made it look, he worked pretty hard to make it so.
UPDATE: Courtesy of a check of Basketballreference.com, Allen’s 22 games with seven 3-pointers is by far the most in NBA history (keeping in mind, of course, that the 3-point line wasn’t installed until 1979). Reggie Miller had 13, which is tied for second best with Nick Van Exel and Quentin Richardson. Thanks to John Donovan for the heads up.