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.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.