His faith isn’t shot
Expect Allen to keep hoisting ’em
Whoever the guy happened to be, it was most assuredly not Ray Allen shooting baskets at 7:30 a.m. yesterday at HealthPoint in Waltham.
A guy called Toucher and Rich on 98.5. He said he saw Ray Allen firing away in the dawn’s early light. Nice story. It would sure add to the Ray Allen folklore.
“That would be detrimental to me,’’ said Allen. “I’m more interested in getting my rest.’’
A day after going a near-record 0 for 13 in a Game 3 Finals loss to the Lakers, the ever-unflappable Allen took his assigned podium spot to face the media. He did not come armed with a loaded pistol, Samurai sword, or even a bulging bottle of sleeping pills. Nor did he offer any mea culpas.
His attitude pretty much was: It happened. It’s over. Let’s go.
“I’m just as eager as I would have been if we had won the game,’’ he said. “It’s great we only have to wait one day.’’
Let the world buzz about the fascinating juxtaposition of an acknowledged great shooter going from making a record eight 3-pointers in Game 2 to missing every single shot he took 48 hours later. If you’re Ray Allen, the second game will be as easy to put behind him as was the first one. That’s just the way he thinks.
“For me, the next shot is always the best one, the most important one,’’ he explains.
Allen’s jump shot is registered as a lethal weapon with every NBA local police department. The shot has made him rich, famous, and a champion. Some days, such as Sunday, June 6, he fires bull’s-eyes. Others find him missing the target. But Tuesday, June 8, was a very rare day indeed. He’s not used to missing all the targets. On such an occasion, some sort of explanation is required.
“I looked at the film,’’ he says, “and I see that most of the shots I had were shots that I’ve made before. But a couple of them didn’t even make it to the rim.’’
Ron Artest got his hand on one. Pau Gasol got his hand on the other. Since neither one of these gentlemen happened to be guarding him at the time, that speaks to the extra attention placed on him by a team that had just seen him make seven threes in a half and eight overall. Were the Lakers extra conscious of where Ray Allen was at all times Tuesday night?
All together now: “Duh!’’
Derek Fisher gets some credit for his aggressive style of hand-to-hand-combat defense. The team gets some credit for a sound defensive scheme. Everyone gets credit for making sure Allen seldom sneaked out of sight.
But Allen missed some makeable shots, too. He also missed at least one driving layup on which he hit the glass but not the rim. Maybe it just wasn’t his night, period. He also messed up a two-on-one with Kevin Garnett on which Fisher drew a charge, and he was called for an off-the-ball offensive foul with the Celtics trailing by 1 with the basketball for the one and only time in the last three quarters.
The fact that he was having a miserable night didn’t faze Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, or any other Celtic. With the Celtics very much alive (trailing, 84-80) and needing to score in the final minute, they went to Allen in the left corner, directly in front of the LA bench. He was 0 for 12, but he went up with as much confidence as he had on Shot No. 5 Sunday night, when he was in the midst of making seven in a row.
“He’s not thinking that shot is going in,’’ says Laker assistant coach Chuck Person, a noted shooter himself. “He knows it’s going in. I thought it was going in. I think our entire bench and coaching staff thought it was going in.’’
It didn’t go in. 0 for 13. The Lakers rebounded and Fisher leaked out for a crushing drive and a 3-point play at the other end. Game over.
“I liked the ball when it went up,’’ Allen says. “It was a little off to the right. But everything felt good.’’
He did make an allusion to having received a knee in the thigh, but he stopped short of blaming that for his shooting woes.
The Lakers know this was, as the British say, a “one-off,’’ a gift from the basketball gods as a reward for suffering through those eight threes in Game 2.
“Once he gets it going, he’s hard to stop,’’ points out Sasha Vujacic, who himself has as good a jump shot as any Laker not named Kobe. “He has the best form and the best instincts of anyone in the NBA.’’
“I’m sure he’ll come out just fine,’’ reasons LA guard Jordan Farmar. “We’ll have to pay a lot of attention to him.’’
“Gimme the damn ball!’’ shrieks Ray Allen.
OK, he didn’t say that. But you know he’s thinking it.