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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 2: How Ray Allen got his groove back (and the Celtics, too)

Jun 7, 2010, 12:51 AM EDT

Allen_pure.jpgIn June 1992, Ray Allen was doing what every other basketball crazed 16-year-old in the nation was doing — watching Michael Jordan rain threes on the Portland Trail Blazers. Six of them in Game 1 of the finals. Leading the Bulls to a crushing of the Trail Blazers.

Tonight, Ray Allen was better than that. He was better than anyone has been from deep in the finals.

Others had bested MJ for a night, too. Scottie Pippen hit seven threes in the finals once, so did Kenny Smith. But those guys were both secondary scorers on a team — they were the outlet when the main man was covered. They were not the guy expected to carry the load. They were not 34 years old at the time.

Allen is those things, and he carried the load like Hercules. He was better than Pippen and Smith.

Allen started 7 for 7 from three and finished 8 for 11 from beyond the arc. More threes than any other player has ever made in a finals game. He carried Boston though the first half with 27 points, and the Celtics went on to win 103-94 to even the series.

“Mike, I’m going to tell him his were a lot easier,” Allen joked.

Three nights before Allen wasn’t joking around. He was frustrated; he had been sitting with fouls. It made him a little tentative. He became a facilitator, not a shooter, and the Lakers won comfortably.

Sunday night Allen was running off the multiple screens he always get and there just seemed to be more room. His first couple threes were good looks, and he got in a rhythm. And when one of the greatest jumper shooters ever to lace up a pair of high tops gets going, there is nothing anyone can do. He had 27 first half points and almost single-handedly kept his team in it.

“Well, it makes me a better coach, I can tell you that,” Doc Rivers said of Allen’s jumper. “And when you draw up these plays and he makes them, you feel a lot smarter.”

The only way to stop Ray Allen when he gets like this is to get the ball out of his hands, but the Lakers are poorly matched up to do that. Because Los Angeles puts the longer Kobe Bryant on Rajon Rondo, Derek Fisher has to chase Allen around all those picks. Fisher is not that fast and Allen has a few inches and can shoot over him easily. Fisher’s strength is to be able to bump people off their line, but Allen got to any spot he wanted on the floor.

“Well, you know, when (the referees) take away any bumps, when Fish is trying to make (Allen) divert his path and they don’t allow him to do that, they call fouls on Fish and that really gives him the opportunity to take whatever route he wants to make off the pickers,” Phil Jackson said, longing for the days of the legal hand check. “That makes it very difficult.”

In the second half the Lakers adjusted, switching a big off onto Allen as he came off a strong-side pick, forcing Allen to shoot over the long arm of Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol. It worked, Allen was just 1 of 3 and had an airball from deep in the second half.

But it opened up other things for Boston, because on the switch Fisher had to guard Big Baby or Kendrick Perkins in the post. Then there was Rondo, who was taking the game over on his own in the second half.

But by then the Celtics were in a groove they never got in during all of Game 1. You can thank Ray Allen and one of the best shooting games ever in the finals for that.

  1. cuzzenbud - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    Although I’m pulling for the C’s, I wish the refs would let both teams play. There have been way too many fouls called in the two games that have been played so far.

  2. Drew - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    I agree, let them play. Although, in Fisher’s case, almost everytime he gets called for a foul, it’s legit. But, he gives the usual sarcastic grin as if he’s never committed a foul in his life and then subsequently flops on offense to try and get calls. It’s very difficult to tell what’s a flop and what’s a legitimate foul a lot of times, but I would like to see a soccer-style yellow card type system that penalizes excessive flopping.
    That’s one thing you have to admire about Ray Allen. No flopping. No whining. No trash talking. No screaming to sell calls. He’s just a pro.

  3. DuffMan - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    Laker fans are quiet tonight….let’s all just be quiet and enjoy the series. Lakers fans were talking so much junk after Game 1. Relax!

  4. Jon - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    Calm down duffman. Ruthless Laker fans aren’t afraid to come out and speak. cuzzenbud is correct about the officiating in this game. Lakers can only do so much when they’re playing 5 against 8. Allen did his thing. Then the Lakers came back and took the lead, but too many bad calls and non-calls can easily shift the momentum as it did to the celts. This series is becoming FOULTASTIC!!

  5. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    Who cares basketball is a joke of a sport I live in LA and can’t stand the lakers or their fair weather fans I hope the NBA goes on strike and folds these overpaid so called athletes are a joke. The NBA was great in the 80′s and 90′s. now it’s pathetic

  6. Hoopsguy35 - Jun 7, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Boston has now won twice in cleveland, twice in orlando and already once in LA. Is there anyway LA could have any confidence if they come back down 3-2. This Boston team right now is one of the better road playoff teams the league has seen in the last 30 years or so. Mainly because in the last three minutes of tight games, they shut you down. Just ask LA tonight.
    LA better win two of three in Boston.

  7. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 7, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Well, Ray Allen will never have another night like that — ever, ever, and Garnet still sucks … so I’m ok with tonight.

  8. rufe - Jun 7, 2010 at 2:58 AM

    I am here. Nice to have the refs on your side when you are playing five one five. From all the posts all agree. The refs decided the game. Lakers and Celtices fans.

  9. rufe - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    I am here. Nice to have the refs on your side when you are playing five on five. From all the posts all agree. The refs decided the game. Lakers and Celtics fans.

  10. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    That was fantastic shooting by Allen. But I expect LA doesn’t fear losing the series based on Allen’s hot shooting. If he continues to simply shoot at a decent average for 3-pointers, that would probably be acceptable defensively. What’s becoming a glaring point of concern for LA must be Odom’s weak performance for both games. He played less than 15 min in game 2 while Bynum and Gasol both were right at 40 min. With Odom not contributing, the playing rotation among those 3 is way off balance. And who else on the bench can fill Odom’s role? Also, one wonders how many 40-min games Bynum’s damaged knee has left? If Odom begins playing decently, winning for the Celtics will become much more difficult.

  11. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    The refs always pay back the team they destroyed the game before with bad calls, so I’m OK with the crappy officiating, too. But yea, I think both sides can agree the officiating was horrible. ‘Mystery calls’. But who cares? Like I said, they always reward the team they screwed the next game, so its all good.
    Game 3 Lakers.
    Game 4, Boston
    Game 5 Lakers
    Game 6 Lakers.
    This series won’t go 7.

  12. rufe - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    I hope Ray Allen does well but I hope he loses. He seems to be a good man.

  13. Tim Donaghy - Jun 7, 2010 at 4:09 AM

    Ray Allen is a flopper. maybe not as much as other people. but did you see how kobe got his (3rd?)4th foul? accidental head bump or flop? plus were rondo tripped up and kobe got called for the foul. bad call again. plus the use of an instant replay on the loose ball between gasol and garnett. how do you screw that up? 54 team fouls…and shaq’s not on even in the lakers.
    gasol and artest are doing great defense individually and allen won’t go off like that. if the refs don’t decide the next 4 games then i see it 4 – 2 lakers.

  14. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 7, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Laker fan here and props to the Celtics particularly Allen and Rondo. They killed us in the end-game. Now, I won’t go on whining about bad ref calls. I will take my lumps like a real sports fan — and as a man at that — and then move on. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings and I’m still positive that the Lakers can snatch a couple of wins in Boston. Celtics have shown that they are not invincible at home this year, so I like our chances. I wish my fellow LA fans learn to suck this loss up like real classy men. Don’t go on to that pathetic path of hooliganism as shown by a number of Bostonians when they harassed the Lakers bus two years ago. Sure, our local boys CAN OVERTURN A BUS — WITH PEOPLE AND ALL — and not just rock it, but hey, why do we have to go down to their level, right?

  15. luffy - Jun 7, 2010 at 4:47 AM

    I’m a Lakerfan but I give this one to Ray Allen and Rondo. Wicked games. Now we could really call it a series…
    Lakers in 5 or 6, 3 straight wins should do the trick…

  16. baseball - Jun 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    who cares about basketball it’s winter time sport and should have been over when baseball began

  17. Coffee - Jun 7, 2010 at 6:35 AM

    Win or lose, I love the Celtics!!! But I hope they win. Go Rondo, Allen, Garnett, Pierce, Davis, Perkins, Sheed… and all the rest!!!!

  18. single dad - Jun 7, 2010 at 6:43 AM

    hi i have three kids i lost my job because i need hip surgery I’m 44 single dad in pain all day and night to see all the god gifted
    ball players every other night is a joy.just thank god and enjoy all the blessing you have. if you like too help me and my family
    email me at rodfrannish@yahoo.com

  19. Mountian Man - Jun 7, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    As a former successful basketball player myself (I’m now 52,) I hold sportsmanship in much higher esteem than any win or loss. I hope people and players today would hold sportsmanship up as the most important thing in any sport, even above who won on points. The team and players who show class are the real winners regardless of who takes the trophy home.

  20. KINGDADDY - Jun 7, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Game 3 CELTICS
    Game 4, Lakers
    Game 5 CELTICS
    Game 6 CELTICS
    This series won’t go 7

  21. Tito - Jun 7, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    Well, Y’all Celtics hater. I just want to tell you that the referees are doing fantastic job tonight but not enough, just like you guy said so many bad calls but not on the Lakers that was on the Celtics. Did you how many free throw the Lakers got and how many free throw the Celtics got, most of the free throw the Celtics got were came from the last two minutes of the game. Pierce clean block on Artest (foul), Big Babe clean block on Bynum (foul), Did y’all see that?

  22. tony - Jun 7, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Well, like the man said, it’s a series. I don’t think Boston got the juice to beat the Lakers four times, not without help from the ref’s, if they did I’d be surprised. Boston pretty much shot thier wad last night and they gotta do that at least three more times, good luck. Thats right, I’am a laker fan, but I’am also a fan of the game, or I was at one time, I hate it when the refs decide the outcome of the game, thats what happened last nite, I counted four times when Boston got the ball when it was clearly Laker ball, and that fifth foul called on Koby was not a foul, he never touched Rondo, the only thing foul about it was the call itself. That told me something, Boston cannot win this without the help of the ref’s. If the ref’s let them play, the Lakers will win easily

  23. tony - Jun 7, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    I feel you Mountain Man, but It’s sad to say I think those days are long gone. The game is more about politics than sportmanship, thats why the sport(basket ball)is suffering.

  24. MadJack - Jun 7, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    For what it’s worth, the Lakers went to the line 41 times, the Celtics 26 times. 8 of the Celtics’ free throws occurred in the last minute of the game. So for the first 47 minutes, the Lakers shot 41 free throws and Celtics shot 18 free throws. And people are saying that the officials cost the Lakers the game?! Get real!

  25. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    Did I here someone complain about fouls against the Lakers? What game were you watching last night? Admitted the refs are calling a weak game on both sides; but the Lakers shot something like 40 free throws. Laker’s fans, please don’t use the refs as an excuse.

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