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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. Mr8bit - Jun 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Hey! That’s not fair! You are using FACTS and STATISTICS to support your argument! How dare you! Blah blah blah. Cry cry cry. Poor Kobe.
    BEAT LA!

  2. Koz - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    The refs are afraid. Remember, though we don’t think about it much anymore (though some do), refs are afraid that they will be closely reviewed and might look like they are favoring one team or one player above others (opening up the conspiratorialists to say they did it because of this or that – ties to gamblers always omes up). So, expect this to be the norm from here on out.

  3. Koz - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    The refs are afraid. Remember, though we don’t think about it much anymore (though some do), refs are afraid that they will be closely reviewed and might look like they are favoring one team or one player above others (opening up the conspiratorialists to say they did it because of this or that – ties to gamblers always come up). So, expect this to be the norm from here on out.

  4. obvious - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    I find it interesting how lakers fans are blaming the refs for their loss. Did you happen to see the free throw differential for game 2? 41 to 26 Lakers. Don’t talk to me about refs. You lost because Allen and rondo played you out of your own building.

  5. Mr8bit - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    I love contradictory statements, but I also don’t like conradictory statements. Ray Allen has a handsom bald head. His skull is perfectly round.

  6. Steve - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    I agree with Madjack. The calls, up until the last couple of minutes, were almost exclusively for the Lakers. The goaltending call in the 4th quarter, where the replay showed the ball hadn’t started down yet, and the announcers are “Clearly goaltending, as the ball was clearly on the way down…”. What were they watching???
    Every time the celtics were under the basket, no fouls, but Kobe shoots a pull-up jumper, someone looks at him wrong – “FOUL!!!”…
    Go Celtics…

  7. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Maybe not but thats when Pierce and Garnett will step up. The Lakers took more fouls shots and shut down two of the big 3 and still lost.
    Way to go Celtics!!!!

  8. Ray - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    Please do not associate euro-trash soccer with NBA basketball.

  9. raccy1 - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    Please do not associate euro-trash soccer with NBA basketball.

  10. eja - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    For the record, I am neither a Lakers nor a Celtics fan. I am a fan of the game and happy to see the series tied, which hopefully means more basketball for me.
    In response to the posts regarding the number of Lakers’ free throws vs the Celtics’…..the number of free throws shot by the Lakers does not mean that the game was called in their favor. Actually, both teams committed 29 fouls each last night. The Lakers were just fouled more during the act of shooting.
    As a coach and former player myself, I do believe that the game was called too closely, impacting the play of both teams.

  11. RichWizl2 - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    These are two great teams, the two best organizations in the NBA, and this Finals will be as tough as it gets for both teams. The officiating is always crucial, sometimes you get a big break, other times you get the shaft. Only one team can win; let’s hope it’s the most deserving one. Go Celts!

  12. RichWizl2 - Jun 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    These are two great teams, the two best organizations in the NBA, and this Finals will be as tough as it gets for both teams. The officiating is always crucial, sometimes you get a big break, other times you get the shaft. Only one team can win; let’s hope it’s the most deserving one. Go Celts!

  13. Mohamed Omar - Jun 7, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Go Celtics!

  14. Hackpiper - Jun 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Oh please. Blaming the refs is a losers gambit. There were certainly some bad or overzealous calls, and they definitely went both ways. (I happen to agree with the refs decision not to reverse the call after the video review…to me, it looked like Pau’s fingers were the last to touch the ball…I even said it to my wife as they went to the video. Then again, who knows.) As a Celts fan, I am glad to see them step up to form. But the Lakers were always in the game, dangerous as always. That was real playoff caliber b-ball. I have always thought that this was going to be epic…with ups and downs..breaks and setbacks…blunders and spectacular plays…on both sides. And I always love it when “Jack” jumps up from his seat in frustration. :)
    No prediction. Buts its going seven games. (OK that’s a prediction … but I cannot tell who will win.)

  15. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    The last 3 minutes all the calls went the Celtics way and that is the reason they won, the Ray Allen 3 pointers were long time ago and this was only a 3 point game with 3 minutes to go then the refs got nervous that the Lakers might actually win so they just said “what the heck”.
    Too much money involved in these games, not sure what the NBA can do about this..

  16. ray - Jun 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    for all laker fans crying about the refs they did shoot 17 more free throws. so much for 5 0n 8 go celts

  17. KC - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    WOOT WOOT Celtics! What a game!

  18. The Other Ed - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    The Lakers go to the line 41 times and the Celtics only 26, yet the Lakers fans continue to whine. What do you want? To just ban the Lakers from ever being getting called for a foul?
    The Lakers get protected by the refs more than any team in the NBA.

  19. Armando Guzman - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    The “Zen” manipulator spoke of how he did not like the calls against Kobe, changed the rythm of the game. Before the series started “Zen” spoke how Lakers must match the C’s physical play. He was trying to let the ref’s know to call more fouls on the C’s. What he did not mention is how they hired a thug like Artest whose only role is to brutalize his opponents; let’s not mention “poor” Fish, who is known for being another thug. Oh yeah, how many calls have the Lakers gotten over the C’s? how many more free throws.
    Give me a break, the “Zen” needs to be exposed, by the way “Zen” you won game one when your refs sat our boy Allen out with 5 fouls, changed the rythm of the game. See ya in Boston.

  20. Armando Guzman - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    The “Zen” manipulator spoke of how he did not like the calls against Kobe, changed the rythm of the game. Before the series started “Zen” spoke how Lakers must match the C’s physical play. He was trying to let the ref’s know to call more fouls on the C’s. What he did not mention is how they hired a thug like Artest whose only role is to brutalize his opponents; let’s not mention “poor” Fish, who is known for being another thug. Oh yeah, how many calls have the Lakers gotten over the C’s? how many more free throws.
    Give me a break, the “Zen” needs to be exposed, by the way “Zen” you won game one when your refs sat our boy Allen out with 5 fouls, changed the rythm of the game. See ya in Boston.

  21. Hackpiper - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Rubbish. That’s not why the C’s won. I sure hope that this yowling about calls isn’t what we can expect from LA fans for the rest of the series. Give it a rest, already.

  22. Omnius - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    I wouldn’t read too much into the Ancient Celtic’s win in game 2, just like we weren’t supposed to read too much in the Laker’s win in game 1. Now we’ve got a best of 5 series with the Ancient Celtics having homecourt advantage. That’s the rub as now the Celts have to defend their homecourt which they’ve not been good at doing during the regular season or playoffs. Remember that 29 point beatdown at TD Gardens by the Cadavers? The Lakers Big Men dominated Boston’s Little Big Men in both games and there’s more coming the rest of the series. After winning 3 the Lakers lose 1, no big deal. In fact the Lakers will now not be so complacent as they would have been if they were up 2-0. Air Kobe will return as the Black Mamba and strike fear into the hearts of Boston fans at TD Gardens Tuesday night. Lakers in 6 games!

  23. LakersRweak - Jun 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    You must be smoking crack, the Lakers will be lucky to win one more game. Celtics are a better team and will prevail 4-2.

  24. Smooge - Jun 7, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Garnett, Pierce, and Allen are the big names, for sure. Kobe is the best of them all, but watching Rondo go to the post, or the passing rhythm of Ray is even more fun to watch.
    But the missing pieces of Sunday’s game are sure to show up in Boston: Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace. I like ‘Sheed at the top of his game.
    The Lakers are scarey good; the Celts are better.

  25. Savoir Laire - Jun 7, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    I said it after game one and I’ll say it again now…Lakers fans are pathetic. After the first game–“we dominated, pushed them around, beat them at their physical game, shut down Rondo, this series is over in 4, blah, blah, blah…” Now you get your asses totally beaten, whooped, dominated on your home floor, and its the refs fault. What a pitiful, sad bunch of cali-losers. See ya later, Lakers prima donna pussy fans, your bunch of sad sacks are going down in this series, and the nation will laugh!

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