Watching this NBA Finals unfold, you kind of got the feeling that we hadn’t seen the best of Ray Allen. Not that the future Hall of Fame marksman wasn’t on the court playing crucial minutes, but the Spurs guards, from Tony Parker to Danny Green, were pulverizing the Heat defense. Worse, with Miami searching for answers offensively, letting Ray spray wasn’t Erik Spoelstra’s weapon of choice.
It’s questionable whether a play was specifically called for Ray-Ray all night, but in a classic Clash of The Titans, the victors pulled out all of the stops and Miami’s saving grace came in the form of a 17-year veteran and 10-time all-star.
Allen’s performance in the closing minutes of Miami’s do-or-die Game 6 O.T. win was exactly why Pat Riley signed the NBA’s all-time three-point shooter despite Allen showing signs of slowing down near the end of his championship run as part of Boston’s Big Three.
Allen’s clutch three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the game saved Miami’s season and his free-throws iced the game in OT, saving LeBron James’ hide. It only took one Allen three-pointer to trump the record-breaking number of threes Danny Green has hit all series.
Allen only had nine points — two below his 10.9 ppg average this season — which is a career low for a guy who from the ‘99-‘00 season to the ‘06-‘07 season averaged nearly 23.5 points a game. But Allen didn’t have to score one point all regular season, as long as he did what he did in Game 6. Now, the $3.09 million that the Heat is paying him seems like a bargain. Moments like the final seconds of Game 6 are why he was brought to Miami. It took a while, but Allen’s Steve Kerr moment with Miami finally happened.
Sometimes, even The Big Three forget that they have one of the NBA’s illest security blankets on deck. Someone who’s ready, whenever asked, to pop a trey sweeter than Cakeman Raven. Everybody gets caught up in the Saga of LeBron James and wanting him to force the issue in crunch time, but when he had a blank look of defeat in his eyes, an old veteran rock-slinger who knows what it means to be a “teammate,” lent a helping hand. It was almost fate. James did the dirty work, bringing the Heat back from a 14-point deficit, but who else would you want shooting a trey or at the line at those moments but Jesus Shuttlesworth himself? With all due respect to the King, no one.