Allen suffers from long fall
Veteran bemoans missed chances
LOS ANGELES — In the span of 11 days, Ray Allen went from setting an NBA record to experiencing a feeling he described as one of the “hardest’’ of his lifetime.
The 3-pointers that rained from Allen’s fingertips for an NBA Finals record in Game 2 didn’t flow last night at the Staples Center. On a night when defense slowed the show, Allen was 2 of 7 from the 3-point line and had 13 points in the Celtics’ 83-79 loss in Game 7.
The second of his 3-pointers came with 51.3 seconds left in the game to push the Celtics within 3 points (79-76) of the Lakers. Although the shot answered a timely 3-pointer by Ron Artest, the Celtics ran out of the big shots in the final seconds.
“It’s very disappointing,’’ Allen said. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We were scratching and clawing and trying to do everything we could to try to finish it out, but it probably hurt the most having the opportunity to be able to win and, just down the stretch, it didn’t go our way.’’
When the Celtics entered the locker room after the game, Allen said “there were a lot of tears.’’ Allen has been part of the Big Three since the 2007-08 season, when the Celtics beat the Lakers for the NBA title.
Now Allen is at the end of his contract, and questions remain about the future of the Celtics’ core unit.
“It’s hard to think about playing in another situation,’’ Allen said. “We’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. We’re here for a reason and it’s tough to see it end this way.’’
As for Allen’s contract, he said he will deal with that “when the time comes,’’ but “it’s obvious I don’t want to be anywhere else.’’
There were moments in this Finals when Allen was great. He drained an NBA Finals record 8 3-pointers and scored 32 points in Game 2. It was the only time the Celtics broke the century mark in the series and the victory tied the series at 1.
But the points from behind the arc evaporated for Allen, as he was 0 for 16 from 3-point range in the next three games. In the last five games, he was 4 for 28 from long distance.
He was spot on from the free throw line all series, hitting 24 of 25 shots. His only miss came last night as he went 5 of 6 from the line.
But the flow of the game and the statistical breakdowns didn’t mean much to Allen last night.
“It’s like you win or you lose,’’ Allen said. “That’s the ultimate objective when you look at that stat sheet, and you don’t look at anything else but that.’’
Throughout the season, the Celtics faced many questions about their durability and to end up in the Finals is an achievement, Allen said.
“I’m extremely proud,’’ Allen said. “We’re a group of guys that we stayed within ourselves. We knew what we were capable of and we fought the good fight.
“People didn’t believe in us. We stayed tough and made sure we came in and did our jobs every day. We didn’t win this final game, but we still have a lot to hold our heads high for.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.