Ray Allen needs to drain just two more threes to become the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made.
It’s hard to picture a more perfect setting to break the record than tonight: At Boston Garden in a nationally televised game against the Los Angeles Lakers with Reggie Miller, the current record holder, an analyst on the broadcast. (We use the term analyst loosely with Miller.) Allen has 2,559 right now, Miller 2,560.
It should be a coronation, fitting of a guy with as pretty a shooting stroke as the league as ever seen. A guy with a fierce work ethic. A guy who deserves the record.
It’s all perfect, except…
In four of the seven finals games last season, Allen didn’t hit one three against the Lakers (as Zach Lowe pointed out at The Point Forward).
The Lakers usually have Derrick Fisher chasing Ray Allen off his many screens (while Kobe Bryant gets the Rajon Rondo assignment). But they do switch that off at times. The Lakers staff has said what they don’t want is Allen to get hot early because then things steamroll with him and the Celtics.
Of course, tonight you can bet the Celtics will be feeding him early and often to get the record.
As they should — Allen is hitting 46.2 percent of his threes this season. For his career he has hit 39.8 percent from beyond the arc. And as he told the Boston Globe this is not a one-night thing. This is what he has worked for.
“I’m here because of the preparation that I put in my whole career,” Allen said.
This was a Nike gala, an event with a basketball theme. The court was lit up from below, there were tables at half court, and people had drinks in their hands.
Kobe Bryant was there, stylishly dressed in black. So was famous model Winnie Harlow.
Know that regardless of the setting, Kobe still has game.
Without Draymond Green in the fourth quarter Tuesday night in the opener, and with Andre Iguodala out for the game, the Warriors defense fell apart against Houston. The Rockets scored 34 points in the quarter and came from behind to beat a Warriors team that had been in control of the game up to that point. There was more to it than just Green’s balky knee, but without the Defensive Player of the Year they are not the same.
Bad news for the Pelicans: Green and Iguodala have been cleared to play in New Orleans Friday. Green had an MRI and it came back negative.
Green admitted he was concerned that the injury, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
Now it is the Pelicans who should be concerned. The Warriors will want to wash the feeling of that opening night loss off them.
With Derrick Rose having to start at point guard (until Isiah Thomas returns sometime in early 2018) and Dwyane Wade starting at the two, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had no choice but to move Kevin Love to starting at center. The Cavaliers desperately need the floor spacing to open up driving lanes and options for LeBron James. Start Tristan Thompson at the five (with Love at the four and Jae Crowder coming off the bench) and it adds another non-shooter to the mix that allows opposing defenses to just pack the paint and force LeBron to be a jump shooter.
That doesn’t mean everyone liked the change.
Love admitted to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer he was frustrated with the move at first.
“It’s been a little bit of a change for me,” Love admitted. “I still find myself spacing a little bit wanting to roll a little bit more and on the defensive end just playing the primary big on their team the whole time on the defensive end. It’s been a little bit different figuring things out on that end, but it comes with the growth I’m talking about. We need to do that and hopefully be a machine when things start clicking.”
Lue put it this way.
“We’re going to try it out and see how it works. He was frustrated at first, but now he’s enjoying it.”
While in certain matchups, when the opposition has a more traditional center, the Cavs may go back to the Love/Thompson front line for a stretch. But the small ball lineup is the way Cleveland should be leaning, even with its clear defensive deficiencies. We saw that in the opener with Love’s dagger three in the fourth quarter.
Love is adjusting, he’s already sacrificed a lot to play with LeBron. This is just another step in that evolution.
The horrific, probably season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward has left the Celtics with a shortage of players on the wing.
Going up against Philadelphia Friday night, that might be getting worse, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
Looking at the pictures, I doubt Smart plays.
As noted, Smart said he hurt both ankles in the second night of a back-to-back against Milwaukee, the left one in a collision with teammate Jaylen Brown. Smart started that game and played 32 minutes. That’s a lot of time to go to lesser players.
If he’s out Friday, that likely means either Terry Rozier or Abdel Nader get the start, and both are going to see a healthy bump in minutes. Whatever happens, the Celtics would miss Smart in a game where they need to defend Ben Simmons on the wing.